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David Carruthers, chief executive of BetonSports.com, who was arrested on conspiracy, fraud and racketeering charges, waived his right to a bail hearing when he appeared before a Texas court on Friday.

Instead, the internet gambling executive, who is expected to file a not guilty plea to the charges, asked to have the conditions of his release discussed in Missouri, where the charges were filed. The magistrate agreed to the request.

After the hearing, his lawyer said he thought it was more likely he would be granted bail there.

“We want to have the detention hearing in the jurisdiction of East Missouri,” Tim Evans, his lawyer, told the court.

“We order that David Carruthers be detained pending a detention hearing to be held in the prosecuting district,” said Judge Charles Bleil.

When he appears before the Missouri court “he is certain to enter a plea of not guilty,” a source close to Mr Carruthers said.

Mr Carruthers filed into the Fort Worth courthouse chained in a line with other prisoners wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He was shackled at the hands and feet and tied to the prisoners in front and behind.

FBI agents arrested Mr Carruthers in Fort Worth airport last Sunday as he changed flights on his way from London to Costa Rica, where BetonSports is based. He and 10 others are charged with running internet and phone gambling on US college and professional sports, which is illegal there.

Mr Carruthers’ detainment came after Congress passed a bill to ban internet gambling last week, but was a shock to the businessman, a prominent lobbyist for online sports betting in the US, and a regular visitor to the country.

Outside the courtroom, his lawyer explained why Mr Carruthers had made the surprise move to shift the hearing to Missouri.

“Yesterday afternoon we determined it would be in our best interests to waive our right to a detention hearing here,” he said.

“We are very optimistic that the [Missouri] court can fashion some optimistic and reasonable conditions for his release.”

After his appearance in court, Mr Carruthers returned to the medium-security federal prison in Fort Worth to spend the night. He is expected to make the journey to a jail in St Louis, Missouri by prison bus on Saturday.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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