BLACK MARKET ON THE CARDS FOR ONLINE GAMBLING INDUSTRY?

19 October 2006

e-consultancy
Posted 13:24 19 Oct 2006 by Richard Maven

Sportingbet has warned that the US is encouraging the creation of a black market through its online betting ban, after announcing it is taking a hit of £210m on the sale of its business Stateside.

Announcing its annual results this morning, the UK-based firm said its profits had risen by 75% to £71.5m, but that next year’s conditions will be very different following the legislation’s approval by president Bush last week.

Of the £303.3m in gross profit Sportingbet generated in the year to the end of July, £196.7m came from US-based users, which the firm said made up 56% of its customer base.

Last Friday the company sold its US operations to an Antiguan company for just $1. It now says it is focusing on Europe and the rest of the world.

Nigel Payne, Sportingbet’s executive director, said there was “little sign” that governments would embrace its call for international online gambling rules.

“The Board has continued to lobby for the adoption of consistent and transparent policies promoting the benefit of proper regulation.

“However this year has seen a fragmentation of the Group’s efforts, with many governments compromising this policy for various motives, be they fiscal protectionism or political gain.”

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