• Turkey Detained Sportingbet Managers

    29 May 2008

    Newspaper

    It is happening again, more arrests or as they say detained, we will see if they hold them! When will all this end? I think if the UIGEA bill is thrown out here in the US, all this will stop. It seems what ever the US does, the rest of the world follows.

    The Turkish authorities have detained a number of people working for online gaming group Sportingbet (LSE: SBT.L – news) and its Turkish affiliate Superbahis.

    Sportingbet said that two of its employees, both in middle management, were detained when returning home to Turkey for a break over the recent bank holiday week-end.

    A larger number of individuals related to the Superbahis sports-betting and casino games site have also been detained, as have persons related to Maslin Properties, the Sportingbet’s former marketing partner in the region.

    Sportingbet said it is awaiting formal clarification of events from the Turkish authorities.

    The company is continuing to take bets from Turkish citizens but has gradually been reducing its reliance on the market.

    Net gaming revenue (NGR) from Turkey in the three months to April 30 2008 (the third quarter of the group’s financial year) accounted for around 14% of the group’s net gaming revenue, down from around 28% in the preceding quarter.

    Since 1 March, NGR from Turkey has accounted for about 9% of group net gaming revenue.

    New laws were introduced in Turkey last year which prohibit unauthorised operators from accepting wagers from Turkish citizens.

    However, the Internet offers jeux sans frontieres – games without frontiers – which has made it hard for governments to control online gaming as tightly as they would like.

    One method of bringing pressure to bear on Internet gaming companies has been to arrest their personnel whenever they travel to locations under which the authorities hold jurisdiction.

    Sportingbet’s own chairman, Peter Dicks, was detained in New York in September 2006 under a warrant issued by the state of Louisiana which accused Dicks of running a gambling enterprise by computer. Dicks was subsequently released when Louisiana’s extradition order failed.

    The share price fell on the announcement, despite the company declaring it is confident of meeting market expectations for its fourth quarter.

    It is a shame people associated with a gambling site can’t even take a vacation anywhere without fear of being arrested, when they are letting all the porn sites and pedophiles are out there on the loose. What kind of world are we living in?

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