Former BetonSports chief executive David Carruthers pleaded not guilty in his illegal gambling trial yesterday.

The 48-year-old, arrested two weeks ago in Texas and subsequently fired by the web gaming firm, is now being held in custody until negotiations over his bail arrangements are complete.

He is reportedly to be released on a US$1 million bond in a deal which will force him to live in the midwestern city of St Louis and be electronically tagged.

Carruthers’ arrest forms part of a crackdown by the US on offshore gambling sites. BetonSports stopped accepting bets altogether a fortnight ago, pending clarification of its legal position, and shares remain suspended.

Carruthers was one of eight people and four companies to appear in court yesterday to enter pleas of not guilty in relation to charges of fraud, racketeering and unlawful gaming.

As reported in The Guardian today, the other defendants include the brother and sister of Gary Kaplan, the man who founded the company and who is now at the centre of an international manhunt.

Details have also come out about the “sting” used to catch the firm. In 2002, undercover officers visited a BetonSports van in a car park outside the St Louis Rams American football stadium, and were encouraged to open a betting account.

Apparently, they were told to transfer money through Western Union to a third party in either Belize or Ecuador, who would then place the bet on their behalf.

According to The Guardian, Carruthers’ associates say he is not doing well. One said: “He looks like a beaten man – not physically beaten but just beaten down.”

His lawyer, Tim Evans, said: “Right now, we want to get him out and living in clean sheets and clean clothes.”