Louisiana Going after More I-Gaming Execs

27 September 2006

Sportingbet's former non-executive director, Peter Dicks, is due back in court in New York on Thursday to find out whether he will be extradited to Louisiana. In the meantime, the Financial Times is reporting that the state of Louisiana has issued arrest warrants for more Sportingbet executives.

Captain Joe Lentini, head of the casino section of Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement division, told FT that there are warrants for Dicks and three additional executives or directors, though he declined to disclose names.

Lentini also said he was investigating other companies and that those companies' bosses were at risk of arrest.

In a stern warning, he said that any executive and/or director of a company that accepts bets in Louisiana is risking arrest if he visits the United States.

Lentini, who spearheaded the investigation that led to Dicks' arrest, said he became concerned earlier this year when he noticed that online gambling was a growing problem, and he asked his staff to find out whether I-gaming sites were taking bets from Louisiana.

Sportingbet was the first site that the agents caught.

"It was the luck of the draw," Lentini told FT. "That was the first one that came up on the screen, and it was one of the easiest ones to find information about."

Dicks has fought extradition on the basis that he has not been in Louisiana for more than 20 years and therefore cannot have committed a crime there.

But Lentini insists the problems in the Dicks' case are little more than a glitch and do not reflect any lack of determination on Louisiana's part to prosecute violations of its online gambling law.

"I am not aware that any state other than New York has this [glitch in its laws]," he said. "Even if [Dicks] wins this battle, other [suspects] coming to the U.S. through other airports might have a different experience,"

Dicks is due in the Queens Criminal Court in New York on Thursday for an extradition hearing. Dwight Robinette, a spokesman for the Louisiana State Police, said they must wait for the outcome of that hearing before proceeding.

According to Lentini, there is only one way for online gambling companies and their associates to avoid prosecution in Louisiana and that is to stop taking bets from the state.

"I do not have a problem with them in Louisiana as long as they don't accept bets here," he said.

Meanwhile, Sportingbet Finance Director Andy McIver told Reuters today that he is operating on the assumption that one of the warrants is for his arrest.

The company issued a travel embargo for its executives following the Dicks arrest.




Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.