Betting Odds & Ends: September

30 August 2007

Tabcorp, HRV Enter $7 Million Deal

In news from Australia, Tabcorp and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a 15-year, $7 million partnership. Under the terms of the MOU, Tabcorp will support HRV through a sponsorship that gives Tabcorp naming and signage rights to HRV's new Melton Harness Racing and Entertainment Complex. "It is an investment in the future of harness racing and the future of Melton, as the complex will a focal point providing unique entertainment and employment opportunities for the local community," said HRV chairman Neil Busse.

Tatts, Betfair Ink Sponsorship Deal

Tattersalls has agreed to a sponsorship deal with Betfair, which sees Betfair sponsor the Tattersalls October yearling sale, with its publishing arm, Timeform, to sponsor the Tattersalls Millions race series. The series, which comprises three new races at Newmarket spanning 2008 and 2009, will offer a combined minimum purse of approximately $4.5 million--rendering it the most valuable race series in the world. "This unique partnership allows us to elevate the relationship beyond simply the naming of races, and we believe that our association with one of British racing's most respected brands will have international appeal to a select clientele," said Betfair racing director Stephen Burn.

Unibet Partners with Liverpool FC

Unibet has inked a three-year deal with Liverpool to become the football club's official betting partner. Under the agreement, Unibet will develop a club-branded Web site, scheduled for launch later this year, offering sports-betting, poker and casino products. Recently, Newcastle United and Jaxx UK Ltd. agreed to similar terms.

The BBC reported that the U.K. Professional Players Association has launched a code to ensure all the country's professional athletes are aware of the laws set out in the Gambling Act, set to be effected Sept. 1. Cheating, or helping to cheat, the report said, will carry a maximum two-year jail term. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, was supportive of the initiative. "It is essential that sport works together to combat the problems that new gambling opportunities bring," he said.

Ladbrokes' Eye on China

U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes is moving forward with plans to enter the Chinese market, where it plans to open betting shops. Ladbrokes already has a joint venture in the country's first sports pool betting shops. The group is also currently bidding for sports lotteries in Taiwan and Vietnam. Ladbrokes currently operates 2,200 betting shops across the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium.

NTRA's Hendershot Promoted

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has promoted former vice president of legislative and corporate planning Peggy Hendershot to senior vice president of legislative affairs. Hendershot also serves as president and treasurer of Horse PAC, the NTRA's federal political action committee

FIFA Establishes Early Warning System

FIFA announced this month that it has set up its own agency, Early Warning System, to safeguard the sport against possible match-fixing and betting scams in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA said in a prepared statement that it had set up the agency "to prevent sports betting from having any negative impact on football matches and, at the same time, raise awareness of this problem throughout the entire football community."

All officials, players and their agents are forbidden to be involved in any betting or gambling connected with matches, according to Article 15 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

Match-Fixing Allegations Pervade Professional Tennis

An investigation into irregular Internet betting on a match earlier this month involving fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko has led some players in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to come forward with talk of money offers to affect the outcomes of tour matches, though officials deny corruption in the sport.

Two players have anonymously come forward with claims that they have witnessed matches being "thrown" and that they had personally been offered bribes, reported French sports daily L'Equipe.

"I know several players who have been approached, and who had the exact same experience as me," said one player, who claimed he had been approached physically by someone offering him 50,000 dollars to lose a match.

The other player said the availability of Internet terminals in the players' lounges has given rise to tennis coaches gambling on matches.

"If you look on the Internet terminals in the players' lounges you will see that the gambling sites are very popular," he said. "I think that about 60 to 80 percent of coaches are betting."