Sportingbet Chairman Held in U.S.

Sportingbet PLC, an online gambling company, said Thursday its chairman has been detained in the United States, two months after the chief executive of BetOnSports PLC was arrest in the U.S. on racketeering charges.

The company said a hearing has been scheduled for Sportingbet Chairman Peter Dicks, though no further details were given. The London Stock Exchange suspended trading in Sportingbet shares at the company's request.

Dicks, 64, is the second executive of a British Internet sports-betting company to be held in the U.S. after David Carruthers, former chief executive officer of BetOnSports PLC, was arrested in July. The company fired Carruthers, who remains under house arrest in the St. Louis area awaiting trial, and closed its U.S. Web sites.

Separately, Sportingbet said it is in the early stage of talks about a possible recommended takeover of World Gaming PLC in an all-share deal worth about 56 million pounds ($105.8 million).

Sportingbet's potential offer for World Gaming, based on its own closing price of 244 pence ($4.61) on Wednesday, would value its competitor at 104 pence ($1.97) a share.