Shares in online gaming firms tumbled on Monday following news of a fresh probe into online gambling in the United States. 2

Shares in online gaming firms tumbled on Monday following news of a fresh probe into online gambling in the United States.

Shares in online gaming firms tumbled on Monday following news of a fresh probe into online gambling in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Justice has demanded information from some of the world’s biggest investment banks as part of the probe, banking sources said.

Internet gaming was effectively banned last year after U.S. President George W. Bush signed legislation outlawing gaming transactions in October.

Shares in the world’s biggest online gaming group, PartyGaming fell 9.8 percent by 8:41 a.m. British Time, while rival Sportingbet was down 3.4 percent and 888 was down 3.5 percent.

Sources said the Department of Justice had ordered the banks to hand over all e-mails, telephone records and documents connected with Internet gaming firms.

Analysts said prosecutors were probably trying to target founders and senior executives of Internet gambling companies, just as they did with the arrests of two NETeller founders last week.

Canadians Stephen Lawrence, 46, and John Lefebvre, 55, have been charged with handling billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds. Both face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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