|Traditional bookies William Hill are furious at Glasgow City Council’s decision to grant Easibet a betting licence for their planned opening in the city centre next year. Easibet is a new concept in bookmaking – a person-to-person betting exchange that is kind of a cross between a bookies and an Internet café. |
Conventional bookies have always been unhappy about the way internet betting exchanges operate - punters exchange bets with each other, effectively cutting out the middle man, i.e. the bookmaker, and the exchange itself merely takes a cut of the winnings. But the move into the high street – the traditional realm of such venerable gambling institutions as William Hill, seems to be the final indignity – an invasion of their patch. It has been estimated that bookmakers are losing up to £50 million a week to online betting, and William Hill feel sufficiently threatened to apply for a judicial review into the council’s decision.
However, they are keeping their cards close to their chest. 'We are well within our rights to challenge the licence decision,” explained a spokesman. “There are a number of reasons why we objected, but we have no desire to make them public yet.'
Easibet owner Henry Spurway retorted: 'William Hill is trying to throw a spanner in the works, but we will see the firm in court. 'Easibet allows punters to act as a bookmaker or stockbroker.' Customers are more savvy these days. The major bookmakers are trying to slow things down because in a few years there will be betting exchanges everywhere.
If it goes ahead, it will be the second Easibet in Scotland, the other, having opened in Edinburgh this year, seems to be doing a roaring trade and is also being challenged by William Hill.