Betting Odds & Ends - October

27 September 2007

Fallon Trial About to Begin

Fallen jockey Kieren Fallon and his five co-defendants made their first appearance in court on Sept. 26 for a jury panel selection in a race-fixing case in which Fallon and five others are charged with attempting to defraud customers of online betting exchange Betfair.

The charges stem from an investigation which focused on over 80 races that took place between December 2002 and September 2004. It was first brought to the public's attention in September 2004 when Fallon and 15 other individuals were arrested on racing corruption allegations.

The other five co-defendants include Miles Rodgers, who is also charged with having concealed the proceeds from criminal conduct, Fergal Lynch, Darren Williams, Shaun Lynch and Philip Sherkle.

The trial begins on Tuesday.

Far East Meets Wild West

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) began taking bets from certain parts of the United States on Sept. 9 through its exclusive partnership with Nevada-based Las Vegas Dissemination Company (LVDC). The deal will see LVDC offer full tote services and live simulcasting of featured races held at the HKJC to U.S. bettors, and see the HKJC accept commingled bets from bettors into its pools. HKJC betting will begin at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. Las Vegas casinos will soon take commingled bets on HKJC races.

Give Us a Break

U.K. bookmakers are expected to demand this month a reduction in the amount of money they pay the horse racing industry. They currently give 10 percent of their horse racing profits to the levy board, but are demanding that amount be cut in half to balance an increase in cost. Reuters reported that Bookmakers have until the end of October to come to an agreement with Culture Secretary James Purnell.

Meanwhile, wagering technology firm Alphameric said that it expects to report significant losses in its full-year results, adding that a number of bookmakers--Ladbrokes and William Hill among them--had initiated legal proceedings against the company. "The decline in the company's share price over the past few months, media commentary concerning the activities of Amalgamated Racing Ltd. and the toughening trading conditions in the markets served by the group have combined to impact negatively the group's current trading," it said. The announcement is not the first of its kind this year as in June, Alphameric said that portions of its I-gaming business were not meeting trading and order-intake expectations set at the beginning of the year.

Equine Flu Vaccine on its Way

The Australian horse racing industry may see an end to the equine influenza sooner than later, as the vaccine for the virus begins to arrive from France.

An outbreak of the virus in August has put the Australian horse racing industry on lockdown, and has forced Internet horse betting operators, such as Sportingbet Australia, Tabcorp and Tattersall's, to halt business. The virus spread from Sydney to five locations in rural New South Wales (NSW) and across the state border into Queensland.

The first batch of 20,000 doses will be followed by another shipment next week.

888 Close to Launching Sports Book

With the release of its positive interim results earlier this month, 888 said it is close to finalizing a deal with Blue Square operator Rank Group to launch an online sports book. The company said it plans to open the book in Italy and possibly expand into other regions.

India Mulls Regulated Sports Betting

India may introduce legal Internet football betting with the help of bwin, according to local media reports.

The Navhind Times on Saturday said that bwin executives on Friday made a presentation to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which addressed legal and financial concerns of the system. And while the AIFF has not made a decision on the proposal, it has not turned it down either.

Bwin has refused to comment on the matter.

Betbrokers Inks Deal with Gold Sheet

Betbrokers has obtained the rights to distribute the Gold Sheet, an American handicapping information service, to wholesale and retail clients based outside of North America. The U.K.-based betting brokerage said initial revenues will be derived from online subscriptions and divided between Betbrokers and the Gold Sheet. Betbrokers has also secured the rights to Gold Sheet College and Professional Football Annual, and all contents of Gold Sheet parent company Nationwide Sports. The news comes a week after Betbrokers announced that its acquisition of Las Vegas-based Winning Edge would be delayed indefinitely.

Betfair, FFA Partner Up

Betfair has signed a product fee and integrity agreement with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), whereby the FFA will have access to the personal information of Betfair customers, which includes betting records. The deal is the twenty-seventh of its kind between Betfair and sporting bodies worldwide, including the U.K. Jockey Club, the International Cricket Council and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).