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William Hill No Longer Accepting U.S. Players

capital.jpgBritish bookmaker William Hill said today it had stopped taking casino and poker bets from US customers amid confusion over internet gambling laws there.  Online sports betting contravenes the 1961 Wire Act in America, which bans the placing of bets on sporting events via the telephone line in the states.

But the firm said it was also pulling out of casino and poker until there was a better understanding over how the law will affect its business.  William Hill said in a statement it would not accept casino or poker business from customers with a US address or US-issued credit card.

Chief executive David Harding said: “The advice we have had is that online gambling is not illegal under the Wire Act, but there are clearly attempts within the US to make it illegal.

“Given the debate in the Senate about changes to internet gambling, we just decided this was the most prudent course of action.

“We are small in the US and have never marketed ourselves in the states. It is just an outlet for US customers if they come across us on the internet.”

Mr Harding explained the American market accounted for 1% of the company’s web revenues and just 0.1% of the firm’s total turnover.

He said: “There are a couple of high-profile court cases and continuing attempts to ban – as well as legalise – types of internet gambling in Senate and Congress.

“Until there is absolute clarity on the scope of the wire act the board thought this the best course of action.”

The online gambling industry has been rocked recently by the arrest of two high-profile executives who are both due to face trial in the US.

In July, the now former BetOnSports chief executive David Carruthers was arrested at Dallas airport and later charged with offences under the wire act.

The indictment referred to “illegal wagering on professional and college football and basketball” which BetonSports offered until recently on its website.

And last month Sportingbet independent non-executive chairman Peter Dicks was also arrested, this time at JFK Airport in New York under laws covering “gambling by computer”.

Mr Dicks resigned following his arrest, but has since been allowed to return to the UK to await his trial.

Despite the legal contraversy, bodogpoker still allows poker players from the United States

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