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Kevin Smith

Sportingbet Appeals Ruling, Tries to Recoup $2.7 Million

29 April 2003

U.K.-based I-gaming operator Sportingbet is appealing a court ruling in Australia requiring the company to repay $2.68 million won from a punter gambling with money stolen from his employer.

In March an Australian court ruled the money was owed to a Mt. Gambier trucking company, K&S Corp. after one of its employees, Dennis Telford, pleaded not guilty to stealing more than $22 million from K&S. That case is still pending.

K&S alleges that Telford used the stolen money to fund an extravagant lifestyle with expenses that included purchasing yachts, entertaining friends and funding his gambling habit online.

The company claims that it is owed compensation from Sportingbet because Sportingbet allowed Telford to gamble and lose at its site. To date, the Australian courts have agreed, but Sportingbet has one last shot with a higher court appeal. Officials with Sportingbet said a ruling on the appeal is expected by the end of the second quarter or early third quarter of this year.

So far K&S has managed to recover nearly $5.5 million, including the judgment against Sportingbet, form various sources where Telford spent the stolen money.

Telford was a rollover from Number One Betting Shop, Australia's largest private bookmaker and a recent acquisition of Sportingbet. Sportingbet purchased Number One Betting Shop in early 2001 during a massive spending spree of business properties and ventures.

The case materialized after it was discovered that Telford, one of Number One's high-rolling customers who continued betting with Sportingbet after the acquisition, was funding much of his activity through stolen money.

In January, Sportingbet said customer numbers had risen to 837,000, making it one of the biggest online bookmakers in the world, with operations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

On average, the company said, its customers place more than 92,000 bets a day.

Company officials declined comment on the specifics of the case.

Sportingbet Appeals Ruling, Tries to Recoup $2.7 Million is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith