PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced today that the U.S.
Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has
entered into a non-prosecution agreement with Sportingbet PLC
(“Sportingbet”), an Internet gambling company incorporated in
England and Wales and publicly traded on the London Stock
Exchange. As part of the agreement, Sportingbet agreed to
forfeit a total of $33 million, representing illegal Internet
gambling proceeds that the company provided to U.S. customers.
According to a statement made by Sportingbet as part of
From 1998 until October 12, 2006, Sportingbet offered
Internet gaming to players located in the United States,
including real-money sportsbetting as well as wagering on poker
and casino games. By the end of this time period, most of
Sportingbet’s active customers were located in the United States,
including in the Southern District of New York. Beginning in
2001, Sportingbet began using payment processing methods designed
to misrepresent the nature of its customers’ gambling
transactions to United States credit card issuers that disallowed
the use of their cards for Internet gambling. Sportingbet also
took steps to mask payments of winnings to U.S. customers.
As part of the non-prosecution agreement, Sportingbet
agreed to continue to cooperate with this Office’s ongoing
investigation by, among other things, providing the Government
with requested documents, and making employees available for
interviews with Government investigators.
In the agreement, Sportingbet agreed to forfeit a total
of $33 million, representing proceeds from the Internet gambling
services that Sportingbet provided to U.S. customers. Sportingbet
also agreed to maintain a permanent restriction on providing
Internet gambling services to U.S. customers, in the absence of a
change in U.S. law.
Mr. BHARARA said that the decision to enter into the
non-prosecution agreement was made after carefully weighing the
factors set forth in the Department of Justice Principles of
Federal Prosecutions of Business Organizations, including: (1)
Sportingbet’s cooperation with the Government’s ongoing
investigation into the illegal online gambling industry; (2)
Sportingbet’s termination of all real-money Internet gambling
services for U.S. customers in October 2006; (3) its agreement to
disgorge $33 million; and(4) the negative effect that charges
against Sportingbet would have on the company’s innocent
employees and legitimate activities.
Mr. BHARARA praised the efforts of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation in this investigation, which he noted is
Assistant U.S. Attorneys ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN and NICOLE
FRIEDLANDER are in charge of the investigation. Assistant U.S.
Attorney MICHAEL LOCKARD is in charge of the forfeiture.