Frank Bill Lobbyists Hopeful of Mid-March Introduction; Sportingbet Hopeful of 2009 DOJ Settlement

5 March 2009
In United States news Thursday, Sportingbet said it hopes for a settlement with the Justice Department this year, while Congressmen Barney Frank told reporters in Washington, D.C., that regulated Internet gambling will remain a part of his political agenda amid the financial crisis.

The Sportingbet news follows on from PartyGaming's December stock-exchange statement indicating it was "negotiating the final terms of a possible settlement" with the feds. However, the company's chief executive, James A. Ryan, later reminded at fourth-quarter results time that there was no guarantee a deal would be done.

Andrew McIver, the chief executive of Sportingbet, told Reuters that the company hoped to reach settlement with the Justice Department in 2009, and said that talks have been amicable "but incredibly slow."

On the company's second-quarter results presentation Wednesday, Mr. McIver added that any agreement would require the consent of both parties.

"It's not something that can be dictated," he said.

GamblingCompliance reported Thursday that Sportingbet offered £10 million to the Justice Department around this time last year, but that the offer was rejected. Sportingbet could not be reached for comment, and the Justice Department did not return phone calls by press time.

Mr. Frank, meanwhile, who was speaking at a press conference, said he was "going to be pushing" a new regulatory bill, following earlier comments suggesting so to the Financial Times.

Lobbyists for the new bill told IGamingNews Thursday that they were hoping for a mid-March introduction, but that due to Mr. Frank's involvement in sorting out the ailing financial services sector, no firm time frame could be given.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.