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Scott Ferguson from Betfair disagrees.
I spoke to Scott Ferguson from Betfair about Tim
Ryan's comments and here is a rough transcript of
The unresolved issue in the UK is that unlicensed
persons are using the betting exchange platform to
negotiate bets but do not pay tax or levy in respect
to their GWM (profits).
The UK govt (Dept of Culture, Sport & Media) that
we deal with have recently released a statement that
punters laying bets are not acting as unlicensed bookmakers
because of several reasons.
Firstly, in many cases laying a selection is akin
to backing the opponent.
Secondly, a key reason to licence bookies is so that
they can pay. With us, there is no risk to either
side of the transaction.
Thirdly, the layer is not in control of the arbitrary
rules. That's our job.
In Tim's defence, that statement was only made a
few weeks ago, probably after his response to you.
However it only makes official what the same department
had been saying for over a year. Instead of a tax,
they pay a commission to us, which in turn becomes
part of what we pay to the government. Simple equation
really, he is simply jealous that the people he represents
(bookmakers), are not governed/taxed in the same manner.
As for his comparison of taxation, punters betting
(competitive) fixed odds on win bets will turn over
considerably more than with a TAB - this is a big
part of the bookies' argument of why they are good
for the game, so surely extending that to our razor-sharp
margins is good for all concerned. Not just for the
tax paid, but industry awareness across the board
- press coverage, sponsorship, more people becoming
full-time punters etc.
Small-time bookies that can only lay 3 or 4 horses
in a race - effectively making them punters, can utilise
a new method of hedging. Evolve, embrace new technology,
and let everyone win if they are up to it. Every industry
has to evolve over time, dinosaurs fall by the wayside.
Then there's the matter of how effective Australian
laws are in prosecuting companies doing their business
on the other side of the world. It would be less stressful
and less expensive for us to simply stay in the UK
and rape the Australian racing industry. We want to
contribute to the industry and economy as a whole,
hence we are prepared to conform to Australian law
whilst in the process of obtaining a licence.
The turnover and 'comparing apples with apples' arguments
are well covered in the submissions to the Federal
Government's Interactive Gambling Act.
Read Centrebet's especially.
Note in the NSW Dept of Gaming & Racing's submission
the quote which goes something like 'our wagering
outlets must offer every possible outcome'.
Ask the punters who bet with TAB Ltd on the NRL Wooden
Spoon market in 2002. For at least a month they didn't
have the eventual winner in the market.
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