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In defence of betting exchanges

Another letter to OZmium's Director of Racing Services from a grass roots punter.

Hi Neil.

Love your newsletter and the information it contains every week. The new "favourites in small fields" is interesting as well, from memory I think there has only been one not win since you started collating the data.

I have been following the "controversy" over betting exchanges and I am with you as a staunch supporter of them, both as a gambler and a consumer. I live in Hong Kong at the moment but as you know with computers you can be anywhere to analyse form and (with computers and telephones) bet on what you like but at the moment I primarily play the Hong Kong races while following the carnivals back at home.

There is one thing though that I thought would be worth bringing up the next time someone like Rod Nicholson or anyone else from the News Limited media (who are paid money to carry race fields and results by various state TABs), or indeed the vested interests of the TABs (any listed company in a service industry such as a TAB, airline, insurance provider etc is being disingenuous when they say "the customer comes first" because the shareholder and increasing that shareholder base and share price for them is always the prime concern of any listed company), say that betting exchanges give nothing back to the industry, will wreck it, are a blight on the game's integrity etc.

The TABs now bet on all manner of sports including Australian football, rugby league, rugby union, global soccer leagues, golf, motor racing and I am sure a few others.

My question to them (strictly in terms of Australia) is, "What percentage of turnover are the fixed odds betting arms of the TABs giving back to these sports, especially at the kids level? What school competitions are they sponsoring? Are they charitable towards sporting programmes for under-privileged kids in these sports?"

I am sure the list of questions could go on, based on their, "Betting exchanges siphon money away from racing", defence even while Betfair has offered to put money back into racing.

I think the NSW TAB looks even sillier today based on their "integrity" stand. I read in the Sydney Morning Herald ( today that the NSW Rugby League has gone straight to the NSW TAB to investigate possible rorting on betting during a league game earlier in the year. Well if the NSW TAB was not offering odds on these games there would be no reason to doubt the integrity of the game's result, would there?

Keep up the great work.


Mark Armsden.

PS: I do wish to point out I am in no way connected to any betting exchange, betting outlet or bookmaker. I am a gambler who is enjoying choice in the market-place and alternatives to greedy monopolies.


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