Where's Jack Abramoff when you need him?
Peter Dicks, the chairman of the London-based Sportingbet PLC, was arrested
in New York late Wednesday as part of an increasing crackdown by U.S. authorities on internet gambling.
Sportingbet was a client of Jack Abramoff's* through 2004 and paid his firm a whopping $1.46 million for two years of work fighting off legislative attacks on internet gambling. But after Abramoff, things have gotten a lot tougher for the industry. In June of this year, the House finally passed a bill to severely restrict online gambling that Abramoff had fought for years. And law enforcement has started cracking down based on the laws already on the books; Dicks is the second web bet exec to be arrested by U.S. authorities in the last couple of months.
Lousiana state police are charging Dicks under a state law that prohibits computer gambling. It's just the sort of jam where a good lobbyist might be able to pull some strings. Too bad Abramoff is unavailable.*Update/Correction
: While Sportingbet was a client of Greenberg Traurig (Abramoff's firm) and represented by associates of Abramoff, Abramoff himself didn't represent the company.