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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Peter Dicks Released

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In more heartening news on the online gaming front, former SportingBet CEO Peter Dicks was released to return to Great Britain from custody in New York after NY Governor George Pataki found no legal right to extradite Dicks to Louisiana to face charges of gambling by computer, a felony which carries possible sentencing of up to five years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

Dicks was arrested by US customs officials at Kennedy Airport in New York on September 6 when a Louisiana arrest warrant was discovered. Pataki's office explained the refusal to extradite based on the fact the state law only permits extradition if the accused was present in the state where the crime was allegedly committed. Dicks' warrant was based on activities in Great Britain that are illegal in Louisiana, but Dicks has not been in Louisiana in several years.

The law is not clear on how Dicks can be prosecuted or extradited for business practices that are 100% legitimate in his home country. While Dicks has resigned from his position with SportingBet, that company has not suspended or adjusted its relationship with U. S. citizens. And, it would appear well within its rights while operating as a legitimate U.K. listed stock that is audited and operates under the scrutiny of departments within the U. K. government with standards equal to our Securities and Exchange Commission.

It has been disclosed that 50 warrants-49 remaining sealed-are open in Louisiana. That is most, if not all, of the officers and directors of the U.K. registered and traded companies involved in gambling. Louisiana's challenge is an interesting one. The challenge they issue is in a gray area of the law and based on state statue that even if enforced successfully at state level leave open action in the federal system and even retaliation by way of the World Trade Organization.

It is one thing to bring one to trial using antiquated federal statues against a relatively weak individual with a background of being involved in illegal gambling. It is another to attack an ally in the War on Terror, and in many other areas, where the issue is one that the country has addressed to its legal and moral qualifications and satisfaction.

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