In a year during which the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has made new ground in its misguided fight against the online gaming industry, it seems appropriate that the original indictees be back for a slice of the action. Word on the street has it that BetonSports.com founder Gary Kaplan has completed enough of his four-year prison sentence to convince the US that he’s ready to re-enter society. Kaplan’s whereabouts are currently unknown with the industry pioneer likely enjoying his first drink in freedom since he was caught in the Dominican Republic all those years ago.
For those of you that only recognize the name Kaplan fleetingly here’s a little on his background.
Gary was one of the ancestors of the online gaming industry during its early days of 56k-backed joy. BetonSports.com was slow to cut over to the Internet and in truth, he set the groundwork for the company to start making mega bucks from the US market.
He was long gone when it started to go pear shaped. It started to go wrong when the firm took the view that the chance of a quick buck on the London Stock Exchange was too much to pass up. In essence becoming a public company made the US sniffer dogs sit up and take notice. What happened next resembled their worst nightmares coming true all at once.
In the end Kaplan received around four years along with a $43.6million fine and served around a year. Former CEO David Carruthers got himself a tidy 33 month term – now being served at Her Majesty’s pleasure back here in the UK (why do we think of his prison cell as a cosy technological tribute to Steve Jobs?) The latter was CEO at the time of one of the worst player balance scandals in the industry’s history and showed the lack of intelligence that those at the end had. By this stage, Kaplan was long gone and has nothing to blame for the managerial ineptitude that was present at the end and caused it to liquidate in 2007.
No matter how incompetent Mr Carruthers and his team at BetonSports were it was simply wrong how the US went about things when they issued the original indictment for all their arrests.
What next for these two then?
Well when Carruthers gets out onto the streets of ol’ Blighty we fully expecting him to pop up in some kind of media role and we’re interest to here what he thinks of the world/industry when he emerges from his pimped-out prison cell. As for the founder of BetonSports.com we expect him to be back in this very industry at some point soon. In what capacity it’s unclear but as one of the industry’s great marketers it’s unlikely he’ll be out of work for long.