Offshore bookies set to splash out

Sportingbet.com, the offshore internet betting business, will reveal this week that it is expanding in the US with the purchase of an American gaming operation.

Sportingbet has already gained some US customers through its Antigua-based subsidiary. Shares have been suspended on Ofex pending the announcement, although the company is now expected to look to move its listing to AIM or the main market.

Meanwhile, Betinternet, another online sports betting company - which plans to float on AIM on Tuesday - has poached Patrick Flanagan, a senior director of Ladbrokes International. Mr Flanagan, who worked at the betting group for 22 years, joins as chief operations director.

Betinternet, based in the Isle of Man, was launched on 17 March and offers tax-free betting. With a current weekly turnover of £400,000, the company attracts punters from the US and the Far East. However, UK residents are prohibited from using it. The float, at 45p a share, will raise £3m.

The company was created in October 1998 by Vince Caldwell, a former bookmaker, and originally operated as a telephone betting company.

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