Two gambling companies sell before ban signed

Sportingbet Plc. and Leisure & Gaming Plc. both opted to sell their U.S. operations before the U.S. President signed a bill today that would make serving U.S. customers illegal. Each company sold portions of their business to private investors for $1.

Sportingbet Plc. sold its U.S. sports-betting, casino, and poker business to Jazette Enterprises Ltd., which is based in Antigua. The deal allows Sportingbet to get rid of $13.2 million of debt without having to spend $14 million to close down the operations.

The company did leave itself an out though if the legal climate in the United States should change. They retained Paradise Poker, which won't be allowing U.S. customers, and if Bush hadn't signed the bill, they had the option to buy back the business for $500,000.

Alistair Assheton, Leisure & Gaming chief executive, led a management buyout of the company's U.S. operations, which include VIP Poker, for $1 rather than close down the U.S. side of the business which would result in the firing of 300 employees.

For more information about the companies' individual poker sites, please see Official Statements from Your Favorite Poker Rooms.

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