|Horse racing betting technology firm TurfTrax has delayed its float on the London Stock Exchange while a fund owned by the Government of Dubai with an 11.37 percent stake decides how to alter how its investment was structured.|
Also backed by City financier Michael Spencer, TurfTrax was originally set to list on January 11 but has been forced to wait amid speculation as to whether the investment by Istithmar World Real Estate, an arm of the Government-owned Dubai World Fund, could be viewed negatively in a largely Muslim country where gambling is illegal.
The Government of Dubai has courted controversy in the recent past by putting money into businesses directly linked to gambling. Last year, it came in for fierce criticism after taking a $5.2 billion stake in Las Vegas casino operator MGM Mirage, stating at the time that it was attracted by the high-end hotel business rather than gambling.
A spokesman for TurfTrax said that Istithmar was going ahead with its investment but had merely decided to change the subsidiary through which the investment was held.
'The delay has been caused through the administrative process resulting in the change of the investing subsidiary of our investor in the Middle East,” said the spokesman.
“We've got a responsibility to let the market know although the delay doesn't affect anything to do with the float.'
TurfTrax is betting its future on the growing popularity of in-race gambling with younger punters as the company has developed the first fully-electronic in-race betting platform that it hopes to sell to major bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and William Hill.