Dublin-based web casino closes US operations

16 Oct 2006

An online casino and sportsbook firm with offices in Dublin has led a successful management buyout of US-facing brands from its parent company joining a wave of online gambling companies racing to close or sell their US operations before legislation was enacted by President George Bush on Friday.

Sportsbook.com, which styles itself “the largest online sportsbook and casino on the planet” led an MBO of sportsbook.com and other US facing brands from Sportingbet Plc. It will now operate as a private company with offices in Dublin, Antigua, Vancouver and Costa Rica.

The company stated Friday: “As a result of new US legislation aimed at preventing financial institutions from handling transactions with online gaming companies, Sportsbook.com’s parent company Sportingbet Plc has decided to cease accepting wagers from customers in the United States, effective immediately.

“Sportsbook.com, now in private hands, remains open for business for its customers. Sportingbet sold sportsbook.com to the existing management team and a group of investors who will continue to run the company in the same innovative way,” it said.

A number of US-facing gaming sites have gone out of business following the shock decision of the US senate to outlaw online gaming last month. President Bush was due to sign the legislation on Friday last.

On Friday online gambling companies were raising to close or sell their US operations before Bush signed the dotted line, including large player 888.com.

One firm, World Gaming, became the first to crash on Friday. The secured creditors of the company, understood to be Barclays Bank, pulled the plug and called in administrators UHY Hacker Young.

By John Kennedy