Footy betting to soar in Thailand
By maddy
After Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s deal to buy 30 percent stake in English Premier League soccer club Liverpool, the action in Thailand’s betting area both online and offline is expected to soar. Thaksin made the announcement at a cabinet meeting after meeting the club’s chief executive Rick Parry at his office in the Government House. He said a large portion of the funds would be coming from the Thai government.

Currently, the three largest shareholders of Liverpool FC 51 its Chairman David Moores, who owns 51 percent; television company Granada owns 9.9 percent while property developer Steve Morgan has five per cent. The 30 percent stake will be purchased from Chairman Moores.

‘We will buy it in the name of Thailand. We want Thai people to be part of the purchase, and most of the money will come from public funds. The Thai government is the one that negotiated the deal, not Thaksin,’ said government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair. While further details about the amount to be paid for the stake were not disclosed, the move is already generating interest amongst the Thai gamblers. Industry observers say European soccer crazy Thai fans, who bet heavily on the Internet and illegally, on English Premier League games will be a shot in the arm.

The 4 billion baht deal will give Thaksin merchandising rights in Thailand and also includes establishing soccer academies in Thailand to promote football in the country.

Local Thai newspapers believe that the telecom billionaire turned Prime Minister Thaksin’s prospective partners in the Liverpool deal include local beer baron Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

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