Saturday, June 11,2011 : GOOD NEWS FOR BETTING EXCHANGES
Customers of betting exchanges are not leviable bookmakers
A bitter dispute involving the British Horserace Betting Levy Board, the British Horseracing Association and major betting exchange Betfair has been resolved following expert legal advice on the question of whether customers of UK betting exchanges are capable of being leviable bookmakers.
At a meeting Friday the BHLB decided that it would not seek to impose any levy on the customers of betting exchanges.
In reaching its decision, the Board considered and accepted the legal advice it had received from Lord Pannick QC and Michael Fordham QC, advisors to the Board, also taking into account the views of those who had made submissions to the Board and the legal advice that they had received that customers of betting exchanges do not constitute leviable bookmakers under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963.
Responding to the news, Betfair's top legal man, Martin Cruddace, did not mince his words on the debate:
“Today draws a line under the issue of whether betting exchanges and their customers should be treated differently to other betting operators and punters for the purposes of the Levy – with the unequivocal answer being ‘no’”, he said.
“Quite rightly, the independent views of the best legal brains in the country have been accepted over the misguided interpretation of a few individuals.
“This has cost racing over GBP2 million, money that should have gone to prize money.
“We have lost count of the number of times this issue has been thrown out by a succession of government and quasi-government bodies.
“This did not prevent the BHA Chairman from agitating for this consultation and being a major driving force behind it. He has put everything on red and it has come up black.
“We hope that the responsible elements of horseracing will accept today’s conclusion and we look forward to continuing a mutually beneficial relationship with them.”