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Betting Exchanges Target Australian Market

20 January 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "Betting exchanges, regarded as `the biggest worldwide threat to racing's integrity', look to be being primed to tap the Australian market.

"…Operating through the internet, punters lodge a deposit with Betfair and can either back or lay horses. Betfair takes a five-per cent commission of winning wagers, minimal by comparison to what is taken out by totes and bookmakers.

"Betfair operates on racing in the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Sweden and now Hong Kong. Last October, a punter was reported to have backed a horse to win a million pounds in a single bet on the Breeders Cup in the United States. The company is also reputed to have 50,000 account holders and processes 12,000 bets a minute during peak periods in Britain.

"According to Hong Kong Jockey Club executive director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, and one of the world's foremost turf administrators, betting exchanges should be shunned, not embraced.

"…`For the first time there is access for anyone to bet on and profit from a horse losing ...

"`What about the unfashionable jockey with just a couple of no-chance rides who finds he is drawn next to the favourite? He has the opportunity to hamper the favourite and prevent it from winning and now has a way to make money from it.'…"

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