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USA turns tables on online gambling

The 48-year-old chief executive of one of the top online casinos was arrested last week and his arrest came out of the blue while he was changing planes en route from the UK to his home in Costa Rica, where his business is based.
What does this mean for the future of online casinos? Online casinos are still popular throughout the world, but is the United States now finally cracking down on the legality of online casinos? Is the future bright for the online casinos industry or will online casinos soon be a past memory? Many investors are worried, and thus stocks in online casinos have plummeted recently since the arrest was made of one of the CEO of one of the top online casinos in the world.
The CEO was charged along with another online casinos industry founder Gary Kaplan (who is still at large) and nine other former executives with racketeering conspiracy, transmission of wagers, tax evasion and other charges in a 22-count indictment.
It was the beginning of a week of hell for the online casinos industry mogul that would culminate with the CEO’s lawyer Tim Evans waiving a bail hearing in Texas on Friday in the hopes that his client would have a better chance of gaining the small measure of freedom in the state of Missouri, where a trial could ultimately be held. As of Friday evening, a new date had yet to be scheduled.
Prosecutors from Missouri allege that the online casinos industry leading firm and its chief executive has taken illegal sporting bets from US citizens over the telephone and the internet.
The news of such an indictment against the CEO, a vocal campaigner for the “legitimisation” of online casinos in the US, sent shockwaves around the online casinos industry.
A major online casinos industry conference to be held in Las Vegas this week was cancelled as internet gambling executives around the world reviewed whether any one of them could safely set foot on US soil. And legal teams from gaming companies worldwide have been following the proceedings carefully searching for any news that might shed light on the case that the US Department of Justice would bring.
It was the first time such an action had been taken against an online betting company listed on the London Stock Exchange and the firm suspended its shares in light of the crisis. The events would send the markets into a tailspin, knocking £900 million off UK gaming stocks by Tuesday.
By Wednesday, the firm had succumbed to a US restraining order demanding it halt taking bets from US citizens and closed down 85% of its online gambling business. Its lawyers swung into action, filing an appeal against the punitive move. But investors and customers alike were left with very few answers on the potential financial repercussions.
The question still remains: was this a one time thing or the start of a concerted campaign by the US?



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