Profile: David Carruthers

Published December 4, 2007 by OCR Editor

Profile: David Carruthers

This is the story of David Carruthers, who was the CEO of online gambling company BetOnSports, until he was arrested in the United States under the Unlawful internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This is the story of online gambling.

David Carruthers was born in 1957 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He served as CEO and board member of the British online gambling company, BetOnSports, which was one of the biggest players in the US market.

A Career in Gambling
After Art college, in 1976, Carruthers joined Ladbrokes Plc, the UK's largest retail bookmaker. At the age of 19 he became the youngest betting shop manager and remained with the company for 24 years, managing as many as 40 high street betting shops.

Carruthers served as CEO from July 2000. It was a privately held company at the time, and listed on the London AIM stock market during his term as CEO. He was arrested on July 16, 2006 and ended his term as CEO shortly after, on July 24. He has since been under house arrest at a hotel in St. Louis as he awaits his trial.

His term was largely successful, as BetOnSports led the industry at large to growth and mainstream success. Between 1999 and 2004, the group generated a 276% increase in turnover. In a report released prior to his arrest, the company said it handled $1.77 billion worth of bets during the fiscal year that ended in 2006.

The Arrest
Carruthers was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas on a Sunday, July 16, 2006, as he was changing planes, traveling with his wife Carol from the company's Annual General Meeting in the UK to Costa Rica, where he lived and where the company had its operations based.

Ironically, Carruthers told shareholders at the General Meeting, only two days before his arrest, that the chances of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement being passed are 'remote'.

The Charges
Carruthers was arrested on charges filed in Missouri concerning his company accepting wagers from US citizens. Carruthers himself is not an American citizen.

The indictment was handed down against 12 defendants. It includes 22 counts, of which Carruthers is the only defendant charged with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, aka the RICO charge.

Other charges include:

  • Mail Fraud,
  • Transmission of Wagers/Wagering Information,
  • Interstate Transportation of Gambling Paraphernalia,
  • and Interference with Administration of Internal Revenue Laws

But in the end, it is widely speculated that his arrest was politically motivated, the Department of Justice flexing their muscle and pro-online gambling industry insiders being targeted.

In Limbo
Carruthers resides in a hotel in St. Louis area, is allowed to leave a few hours a day and is monitored 24 hours a day. Hotel expenses are not covered by the US, but cheaper options, such as renting an apartment, is impossible since his passport has been confiscated.

At least he is free, not behind prison bars, like BetOnSports founder, Gary Kaplan, labeled a "flight risk" by authorities.

As the trial keeps being put off, Carruthers remains under house arrest. The online gambling industry has largely recovered from the traumatic effects that followed the arrest and the passing of the bill in October 2006, though the US market has left the field and companies no longer target the North American market.

Even activity on the FreeDavidCarruthers.com is slow.

See also

Online Gambling Exec Changes Guilty Plea

Online Casinos Start to Worry


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