Betting Exchanges Ask Scrutiny Committee to Level Playing Field

27 April 2004

Betfair, Betdaq, and Sporting Options are collectively calling on the British government to adopt a new code of practice that would "require the operators of all of the U.K.'s 8,000 licensed betting shops to reach the standards of probity, openness and transparency that have been set by the betting exchanges."

The three betting exchanges signed a letter delivered Friday to John Greenway, the member of Parliament who is chairing the joint scrutiny committee of the Draft Gambling Bill.

The exchanges disagree with the committee's suggestion that some exchange punters be "identified, regulated, made subject to the appropriate levy arrangements and have their status checked." They argue that it is neither feasible nor desirable to introduce new rules and limits that would single out one group of punters over another. Doing so, they say, would redirect any corrosive betting money to a larger number of less reputable operators and therefore damage the effectiveness of the arrangements the exchanges already have in place with some sports organizations to protect the integrity of those sports.

According to the three exchanges, "The major bookmakers are intent on strangling the exchanges with red tape and ultimately denying punters a betting platform that, for the first time, offers real choice, control, and value," and they would not wish for their own punters to go through the same red tape. But Betfair, Betdaq, and Sporting Options conclude, "Surely the best way to address integrity risks is to impose these policies on all regulated betting organizations."

Click here to view the letter.