Friday, February 11, 2005Contact: Maurits Bruggink
UK Report on the Effect of Betting on Sport

An interesting report on “The Effects of Betting on Sports” was published earlier this week by an informal group of Members of the British Parliament. Although the report addresses the situation in a competitive and particular gambling market, its findings have some relevance for other countries.

The report recommends that sports authorities should create Memorandums of Understanding with betting operators on what types of bets are permissible. It gives interesting experiences by sporting bodies on the risk of corruption with certain types of betting. The recommendation seems less relevant for most racing nations, because in most countries it is the state that decides what is permissable or not.

The report concludes that betting exchanges set a good example with respect to transparency. It applauds the Memorandum of Understandings that Betfair has concluded with the different sporting organisations, which allow the sporting body to access details of the punters and their transactions.

However, it also confirms what most racing nations across the world believe, that exchange betting constitutes an increased risk for corruption of sports, inter alia because it allows punters to bet on sportsmen or horses to loose. The report calls for specific rules against insider dealing on betting exchanges and spread betting.

The issue of Memorandums of Understanding with betting exchanges seems relevant to only the UK and Ireland, as the laws in almost any other country in the world forbids this form of betting.

A weakness of the report is that it does not recognise the effects of cross-border betting. British punters can bet on various sports, domestic and foreign, through many offshore operators, often based in so called “soft jurisdictions”. The fact that this off-shore market is growing is acknowledged by everyone and recommendations on the control of irregular betting behaviour and unauthorised betting in these instances would have been appropriate.

The full report and the testimonies of some sporting authorities (including those of the Jockey Club and BHB) can be found at:

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