A British-owned gaming site is to accept US poker bets to boost flagging poker revenues even though online gambling is effectively OUTLAWED in America.
Ladbrokes’ saw online poker profits FALL 6.4% over the past 12 months although profits on other channels rose.
Bosses say they have been forced to join the Microgaming poker network because of the exodus of European high rollers looking for big money purses at US-facing sites.
Ladbrokes’ poor poker performance helped annual operating profits flatline at £26.2 million although the company says this is partly due to the costs of a recruitment drive planned until 2010.
Increased advertising in the UK and Europe has already helped to boost player numbers by 237,000.
Ladbrokes egaming chief John O’Reilly said: “We’ve taken the decision to offer high stakes players US liquidity from states where there is less of a legal risk.
“We have evaluated the legal situation and are happy with our position.”
US laws effectively ban internet gambling and, some industry insiders claim, are biased against firms based outside America.