By Roy Mark
July 19, 2006
A week ago, David Carruthers, the urbane, 49-year-old British CEO of BetonSports PLC, was campaigning to legalize, regulate and tax Internet gambling in the United States.
Today, he is sitting in a Fort Worth jail cell.
As CEO of BetonSports, Carruthers oversees an online gambling empire with licensed operations in Europe and the Caribbean basin. The company has offices/online casinos in London, Costa Rica, Antigua, Guatemala, Mexico and Malaysia.
Today he’s having bologna sandwiches and Kool-Aid in a Texas lockup. Perhaps the U.S. government will throw in a heaping side of American hypocrisy.
According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), BetonSports in 2003 had 100,000 active players who placed 33 million wagers worth $1.6 billion through the company’s Web sites.
More than half of those wagers came from Americans.
Because of that, Carruthers is in the slammer facing enough charges to make a mob boss nervous, including racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.
“Efforts to prohibit online gambling in the United States have failed repeatedly,” Carruthers said last week. “Congress should focus its energy and resources on viable solutions through regulation to protect consumers and to control underage and problem gambling.”
Carruthers’ comments came within hours of the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming vote to do just the opposite: ban Internet gambling in the U.S.
That legislation seeks to clarify a murky piece of law called the Wire Act, which Congress approved in the early 1960s prohibiting placing a sports wager over the telephone.
The new House legislation extends the Wire Act to cover all forms of Internet gambling.
It is not, it is important to note, law. The Senate has yet to decide …..