VC chief executive detained by Israel authorities

Michael Carlton, chief executive of Victor Chandler, has become the latest online gambling executive to fall victim of the crackdown on internet gambling.

He was held for two hours by Israeli authorities helping with enquiries before being released and permitted to leave for the company’s headquarters in Gibraltar.

Victor Chandler has not yet revealed any details, stating that when Carlton is back in Gibraltar they will release a formal statement.

Victor Chandler had previously enjoyed great success in Israel, where much of the gambling industry is a monopoly controlled by a state-run gaming board. Victor Chandler saw an opportunity to exploit that and began an aggressive marketing drive, offering a more attractive service to the Israelis than state-run gaming.

Carlton said last year: “The real problem in Israel is unfair competition from the government monopoly gambling board. The Israeli gambler is smart and knows he is getting a better deal from us. We return 92 per cent of our income to punters, while on some products the Israeli government pays out just 42 per cent of income.”

That has not sat well with the Israeli authorities who have perhaps been sitting and waiting for a chance to catch Victor Chandler out. That opportunity is reported to have been an advertising campaign that Victor Chandler ran on the sides of buses in Israel.

However, the European Commission wants to open up the gambling industry and free it from state-protected monopolies and promote free competition. Nevertheless, many European countries are still trying hard to protect their state-run lotteries or gambling.

Last year saw the arrest of Peter Dicks, chief executive of Sportingbet, David Carruthers, chief executive of BetOnSports and two executives of at Austrian gambling company Bwin. The latest arrest will come as a stark reminder to the online gambling industry that they must remain to tread carefully.

Editor, - 2007-01-12 11:53:43

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