Have Ban, Will Travel: Gambling Crackdown

Article excerpt

THEY SUPPOSEDLY speak English in England, but they have different names for certain things. When they say lift, they mean elevator. Larry, is their word for truck. And someone they call a businessman is what we call a racketeer.

David Carruthers, CEO of the online bookmaker BetOnSports, discovered the significance of that difference during a July layover at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, where he was arrested for helping Americans gamble. His arrest is part of a larger attempt to impose America's gambling restrictions on countries with more tolerant policies.

Carruthers was on his way from London, where BetOnSports is headquartered, to Costa Rica, where its online betting operations are based. The business is legal in both places, but not in the United States. Since most of its customers are Americans, Carruthers is guilty of about 20 different felonies--or so say the FBI and the Justice Department, and they're the ones with the guns and handcuffs.

In addition to Carruthers, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri accuses 10 other people associated with BetOnSports of violating the 1961 Wire Act, which prohibits using "a wire communication facility" to accept bets on "any sporting event or contest. …