|The ongoing campaign by British bookmakers and the British Horseracing Board to discredit the betting exchanges was dealt a sharp blow this week as Lord McIntosh, Minister for Gambling, came out strongly in their defence. Bookies used the inaugural annual meeting of British Bookmakers on Monday to give vent to their frustrations toward person-person exchanges.|
Tom Kelly, chief executive of the ABB, suggested exchanges might be used by money launderers and international crime syndicates. 'It doesn't seem to matter that the unsuspecting punter may be dealing with anyone from his local vicar to a money launderer or the head of an overseas crime syndicate,' he explained.
Many traditional bookmakers were concerned underpayment of tax and levy with the exchanges paying only on a commission income, the rates of which they set themselves. Others claimed the integrity of sport itself had been damaged, citing stories of horses drifting in the market after ‘being paid to lose’.
Lord Macintosh was unmoved. 'We know your views and you know ours. We don't seem to have found any common ground,' he told the assembled parties.
The following day, Peter Savill, chairman of the British Horseracing Board, told a government committee, which included Sports Minister, Richard Caborn, that exchanges 'represent an unprecedented and substantial threat to the integrity of racing'.