Former Sportingbet, Plc. chairman's hearing postponed

The court hearing of former Sportingbet, Plc. non-executive chairman Peter Dicks was postponed this afternoon and rescheduled for tomorrow in order to give state authorities more time to review the case. The outcome of the deliberations will determine whether Dicks will be extradited to Louisiana to face charges related to illegal Internet gambling.

Dicks, 64, was arrested during a routine customs inspection at a New York airport Sept. 6 on a warrant issued in St. Landry parish, Louisiana, where bets were placed with Sportingbet, Plc., owner of Paradise Poker, by police agents from Louisiana's Police Gaming Enforcement division, which regulates gambling in the state.

The officers were using state addresses to place bets as part of an operation aimed at exposing online gambling firms that accept bets from Louisiana residents, an illegal act under state law.

Dicks' case is being reviewed by New York Gov. George Pataki and New York Attorney-General Eliot Spitzer. Pataki and Spitzer were involved in the Sept. 14 decision to withdraw Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's original extradition warrant due to doubts relating to the legitimacy of the request.

However, Blanco reissued the warrant earlier this week in an effort to reinforce the state's law against online gambling, much to the dismay of Dicks' legal team which had hoped to halt the extradition process prior to today's hearing.

Pataki and Spitzer requested the hearing be postponed in order to allow them time to review all related documents, most of which only arrived in New York last night from Louisiana and Dicks' legal team.

If Pataki and Spitzer choose not to reinstate the warrant, the extradition request would be dismissed before the hearing begins tomorrow.

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