Betfair Sets its Sights on Singapore
By philip
Tim Levene, Betfair’s Managing Director for Asia, has announced the company is looking to enter the local Singapore betting market by working with Singapore Pools, one of only two legal bookmakers in the country. Betfair feels it can help the Singapore government challenge illegal gambling because, as a betting exchange, it has the ability to offer prices similar to those of illegal gambling houses.

'I think for every US$1 that goes to legal betting, US$1,000 goes to illegal channels. We want to work legitimately with governments and be allowed to market our product and grow to our full potential,' said Levene. The greatest challenge for us in Asia is to get the go-ahead from governments and that could take two to four years,' Mr Levene said.

It is an offense to place bets with operators not exempted from the Betting Act and Common Gaming Houses Act. Gamblers currently face a six month jail sentence and a $5,000 fine if found placing bets with illegal bookies – a law which extends to Internet gambling. Levene estimates that, in Asia, at least US$1 billion is bet illegally on soccer.

A Singapore Pools' spokesman said: 'Betfair did pay us a courtesy call. However, there are no specific plans at the moment and it would be premature for us to comment on what they are doing.’

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