Sportingbet's future brightens this week

Sportingbet Plc. had two bits of good news to share this week. The company has come to an agreement with authorities over the charges laid against it in the United States, and one of the United Kingdom's biggest insurance groups bought a large amount of its stock.

The online gaming company announced today it reached an "amicable resolution" with the St. Landry District Attorney in Louisiana. The result of which means that all related warrants issued by the state have been cancelled.

It was discovered that Louisiana had issued warrants for certain Sportingbet employees when Peter Dicks, Sportingbet non-executive chairman at the time, was arrested in New York on those warrants in September 2006.

He was detained when he flew into New York for business unrelated to Sportingbet, but he was eventually released when the New York governor found no reason to extradite him to Louisiana.

Now that the company and the St. Landry District Attorney have reached an agreement, all warrants against Dicks and other execs from the company have been cancelled.

As part of its announcement of the deal, Sportingbet, which owns Paradise Poker, re-affirmed that it ceased all of its U.S-facing business on Oct. 12, 2006, a day before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law.

Also bolstering the company's outlook for the future was the news that M&G Investments, the fund management unit of the U.K.'s largest insurer Prudential, bought 2.5 million shares in the company.

This raises the insurer's holdings in the online gambling company from 3.61% to 4.19%,and may bolster investor confidence in Sportingbet stock.

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