US federal officials charged 11 people, including the CEO of a big gambling Web site, alleging they committed conspiracy, racketeering and fraud in taking sports bets from US residents, an Associated Press report said.
The report said the US Justice Department was seeking the forfeiture of $4.5 billion, cars and computers from the defendants, including BetOnSports and three other companies.
BetOnSports CEO David Carruthers and four other defendants were arrested over the weekend.
Carruthers was being prevented from boarding a flight from Texas to Costa Rica, where the company had operations, the report said.
The 22-count indictment was unsealed in St. Louis, where a federal judge also ordered BetOnSports to stop accepting bets placed from within the US.
Several of the defendants lived outside the US, which would make them hard to catch, said US attorney Catherine Hanaway in St. Louis, the report said.
Among those who lived abroad was Gary Stephen Kaplan, the founder of BetOnSports, which was incorporated in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Officials said those arrested included Kaplan's brother, Neil Scott Kaplan, who handled purchasing for the company. He was arrested in Florida . Two other defendants were arrested in Miami and another was arrested in Philadelphia.