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Poker News: July 20, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.

HEADLINE: BetOnSports forced to close down poker and casino websites

Online poker and casino operators, such as PartyGaming and 888 Holdings, have been drawn into the American Government’s assault on the internet gambling industry.

It emerged yesterday that BetOnSports, which on Monday was indicted on charges ranging from running an illegal gambling business to money laundering, has been forced to close down its poker and casino websites as well as its betting sites.

Although most commentators believe that BetOnSports has been targeted to get at its fugitive founder, Gary Kaplan, the broad nature of the charges suggests that the Department of Justice is using the case to send a warning to the wider internet gambling sector.

It had been assumed that the greater uncertainity over the legality of casino and poker websites meant that the Department was attacking only sportsbooks. However, BetOnSports, which operates websites including and, said yesterday: “In relation to the temporary restraining order, the company confirms that it has temporarily discontinued the provision of all of its US-facing services.”

The restraining order states that the group is barred from “operating an illegal gambling business through internet websites”. It lists 711 websites linked to BetOnSports, Mr Kaplan and the other defendants, including numerous casino and poker sites.

The restraining order remains in place until a formal hearing, but a spokeswoman for BetOnSports confirmed it was appealing. “The order is unreasonable and we are appealing against it.”

Shares of PartyGaming, down 22 per cent this week, bounced 9p to 94¼p on false rumours that BetOnSports had sealed a deal with the Department of Justice.

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