All bets are off in the US

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September 8: It is hard to feel much sympathy for companies involved in online gaming in the US: the risks have long been clear. Many simply bet that the rules wouldn’t catch up with them. Sportingbet’s chairman, Peter Dicks, lost that bet when he was arrested at JFK and charged under Louisiana gambling laws. Today, Andy McIver, Sportingbet’s finance director and chief executive-designate, says he will not be travelling to the US until charges against Dicks have been quashed. Louisiana State Police say other arrest warrants have been issued in the investigation but won’t say against whom. The company this morning provided further details of Mr Dicks’ arrest and the court hearing he attended in New York City last night. The company itself has not received any correspondence from any US authority on this or related matters, it said. However, we still have a lot of questions: why Dicks in particular? Why now? Who else? What offence precisely? Our correspondents in London and the US will try to provide the answers in tonight’s paper.

OMX shares jumped almost 10 per cent this morning on rumours that the Nordic exchange operator was the target of a takeover bid with dealers suggesting the London Stock Exchange was the most likely predator. LSE shares were off at first but seem to have recovered. We don’t believe the LSE is the bidder right now, if there is one.

Austin Reed has received a £42m takeover approach from the owners of Dawnay Day, Guy Naggar and Peter Klimt. They already own nearly 30 per cent of the retailer.

Comments in a Merrill Lynch research note that GCap might break its banking covenants and be forced to cut its dividend knocked more than 7 per cent off the stock. GCap says this is just speculation and that it has not breached any banking covenants.

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