GLOBAL – At least one UK pension fund - Lincolnshire - may have lost out in the decline in share prices of online gaming companies following the detention of BETonSPORTS chief executive David Carruthers.
He was detained for taking sports bets in the US while changing planes in Dallas en route home to Costa Rica from the UK.
The news prompted a sharp fall in its shares, which were on Tuesday suspended from London’s junior AIM market. There was a knock-on effect on the rest of the online gaming industry, hitting the shares of Sportingbet, 888 and PartyGaming.
The roughly £1.1bn (€1.6bn) Lincolnshire County Council pension scheme, which holds some 468,000 shares in BETonSPORTS, would not comment on its investment in the company.
“We wouldn’t like to comment on that, thank you,” an investment executive told IPE.
The scheme’s investment managers include active equity manager Martin Currie Investment Management, INVESCO Asset Management and Morley Fund Management.
The fund is advised by Hymans Robertson. “We’re not going to comment on this occasion,” a spokesperson said.
Northern Trust, Citibank London and Mellon Bank are among a long list of custodians holding shares in Sportingbet on behalf of clients with roughly 2.3m, 1m and 443,000 shares respectively.
All three declined to comment on whether they were holding shares for pension schemes.
“We are not able to offer you any comment. We are unable to quote on any specific stocks,” according to a spokesperson for Mellon.
Other holders include Brown Brothers Harriman, Midland Securities Services, JP Morgan, Bank of New York (Brussels), and HSBC Bank.