Sporting Odds & Ends - June 2003

12 June 2003
Shareholders Buy Offloaded Shares of William Hill

Existing shareholders in William Hill, Britain's second biggest bookmaker, displayed their faith in the company by taking up the majority of shares offloaded recently by Cinven and CVC, the two major private equity partners that floated the bookmaker on the Stock Exchange about a year ago.

Reports in London were that much of the £145 million that Cinven and CVC picked up for the bulk of their stake in William Hill came from current investors expanding their holdings.

Cinven and CVC originally owned about 90 percent of the company before floatation, when their holdings were reduced to around 9.3 percent and 8.3 percent respectively. When the company was floated, the venture capitalists became committed to reducing their holdings, though they were locked into the deal until March of this year.

Betfair Extends Agreement to Irish Racing

Just days after P2P exchanges Betfair and Sporting Options signed an agreement to make information on their players available to the U.K. Jockey Club when fraud is suspected, Betfair announced a similar deal with Irish racing officials.

Today Betfair announced it would implement a similar policy in and agreement with the Turf Club in Ireland. The move is aimed to keep the site above refute as jockeys and owners could benefit from betting on one of their horses to lose.

Jockey Club Expresses Displeasure with Betdaq

A third leading betting exchange, Betdaq, opted not to sign the memorandum of understanding with the Jockey Club because of privacy concerns.

On Wednesday officials with the Jockey Club expressed their disappointment with the decision.

Jockey Club PR director John Maxse said the site's reason for not signing is off target.

"I believe it's misleading for Betdaq to say this agreement puts the privacy of the innocent at risk because the wording clearly states that for us to make an inquiry, we must have grounds that either there has been a breach of the rules or the integrity of racing is at risk," he said in a statement. "And every request has to be authorized by the Security and Investigations Committee, which includes independent representation and expertise on criminal law."

Maxse pointed out that the agreement contains no legal obligation to cooperate, so if the company was not convinced by the Jockey Club argument, it need not comply.

BetWWTS Renews Hot Dog Deal

Ending weeks of tense anticipation, has announced that it will remain the official sports book for the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition in 2003.

Held every year since 1916, the contest draws the best competitive eaters from around the world to battle for the coveted Mustard Yellow Championship Belt, the World Cup of competitive eating.

This will be BetWWTS's second year as the official sports book.

As part of the agreement, will provide official odds on the contest endorsed by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), the organization that supervises and regulates eating contests in their various forms throughout the world.

IFOCE officials will work exclusively with odds makers, providing detailed information on the career accomplishments and abilities of each competitor.

In addition, signage will also appear on the official time clock, a focal point of the 12-minute contest.

The company will also receive an exclusive sponsor's exemption to hold an eating competition at a location of their choice, of which the winner will automatically qualify for the Nathan's Fourth of July event.

Football Coach Fired for Betting Activities

Rick Neuheisel was fired as the University of Washington's football coach for betting on NCAA basketball tournaments and lying to school officials about it, athletic director Barbara Hedges said Thursday.

Neuheisel, who acknowledged to NCAA investigators he bet on the tournaments, has until June 26 to respond to the notice of termination. He is on paid suspension in the meantime.

The NCAA prohibits coaches from gambling on college sports. Neuheisel admitted last week he had placed bets with neighbors on the NCAA Tournament over the past two years, an action that NCAA president Myles Brand called "totally unacceptable behavior."

Neuheisel insisted he didn't believe he had broken NCAA rules because it was an informal off-campus pool. He also claimed an e-mail from the athletic department's compliance director gave him permission to participate.

McPherson Trial Ends with Hung Jury

A Florida jury failed to reach a verdict in the gambling trial of former Florida State University quarterback Adrian McPherson last week; Judge Tim Harley declared a mistrial.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappelman said her office would resume the investigation of the case and then try the misdemeanor charges again.

An unidentified juror told the Tallahassee Democrat after court was adjourned that the vote was 5-1 to convict but the dissenting juror never wavered.

Among the games McPherson is accused of betting on was one the former Florida State quarterback played in, but he is not accused of throwing any contests or shaving points.

McPherson, 20, needs an acquittal to salvage his college career and any hopes of a career in the professional ranks.

But he also faces trials on felony charges of grand theft, forgery and utterance in the theft of a check from a Tallahassee business, and on several counts of passing bad checks at supermarkets.

During the trail, a former roommate and friend of McPherson's testified that the former QB had placed bets through online sports books.