|UK bookmakers are asking the government to investigate the status of Internet betting exchanges as part of the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee's review of the draft Gambling Bill. |
The Bill, which will be the legal basis for far-reaching reforms of gambling in the UK, was included in last month's Queen's Speech and the Scrutiny committee is expected to give its findings early next year. However, bookmakers also want it to expand its review of betting exchanges.
Opposition to betting exchanges from bookmakers is nothing new, with the bookies claiming the exchanges enjoy tax advantages over conventional bookmakers, who have to pay 10 per cent of gross profits to the horseracing industry as well as other gambling taxes. Because betting exchanges are not classified as bookmakers they don't.
Bookmakers say horseracing will suffer. One bookie said: 'Horseracing is a direct loser. Every single lay on the exchange will pay no levy, and every time that happens, horseracing loses out.'
Other issues raised by the bookmakers include supposed threats to the integrity of betting.
However a spokesman for Betfair, the leading exchange, said: 'Our argument is absolutely sound and their argument is particularly commercial. I hope the committee supports the move [to conduct an investigation] because then it will be another independent assessment that has gone in our favour. You start to wonder how many you need. I have always said that if logic prevails over vested interest, then we will win.'