David Carruthers became the latest poster boy—or scapegoat, depending on ones perspective—when he was arrested in Dallas on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and an illegal online gambling enterprise. While on a layover to Costa Rica, where his company is based, Carruthers, chief executive officer for BetOnSports was arrested and detained on Sunday, forcing the online gambling community to take note.
Carruthers arrest seems to have spooked online gaming executives. A major gaming conference, scheduled for next week in Las Vegas, has been cancelled. The Bodog.com Marketing Conference typically attracts gaming professionals from all over the world but as soon as word of Carruthers arrest spread, attendees began canceling.
"No senior executive from a gaming company was going to come after [the arrest] happened," said Calvin Ayre, founder and chief executive officer for Bodog.com.
"Nobody in the industry right now wants to come into the United States," Ayre said. "Were talking business people here. The people who run the online gaming industry are business people. Theyre not criminals. Nobody wants to be the test case for a prosecutor trying to make a name for themselves."
The conference will likely be held in the UK, Canada, the Bahamas, or Costa Rica in the next few months. Ayre said that this was likely the last year that it would have been held in the U.S. anyway because America is so unfriendly to the gaming industry.
But BetOnSports is not a typical online gaming company. They deal in sports betting, which is clearly outlawed by the Federal Wire Act of 1961, and they once operated in the United States. Most Bodog attendees are in the card gaming business and operate overseas, which makes them a bit more untouchable by the U.S. government. But theyre not willing to gamble with the prospect of prosecution.