Over £400 million was effectively erased from the value of Sportingbet, the online gaming operator, yesterday after its shares were reinstated on the stock market for the first time since its chairman was detained in New York last week.
When the company became aware that Peter Dicks, its non-executive chairman, had been arrested at JFK airport last week on a warrant issued by Louisiana State Police it asked for a suspension in its share trading. The shares dropped by 95p to 144p, although some late buying in the market was noted as a few investors determined the fall had been overdone.
After being released on $50,000 bail on Friday by the New York Supreme Court, Mr Dicks is scheduled to be back in court on Thursday 14th Sep, where it is said he will seek to stop an attempt by the state of Louisiana to have him extradited from New York. Sportingbet stated that it anticipated Mr Dicks to “vigorously contest” Louisiana’s demand that he be extradited to face charges that he was involved in illegal gambling by computer.
Being a non-executive director his lawyers are set to argue he should never have been arrested and that he was traveling to a board meeting of the Nasdaq-listed Standard Microsystems, of which he is also a director.
They will also raise the point that he is being pursued by a state that allows state-run lottery terminals and video lottery machines that are commissioned and controlled by the gaming enforcement division of the state police. Mr Dicks has so far avoided federal charges unlike David Carruthers, the former BetOnSports chief executive, who is being pursued by the Department of Justice.