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Betting Isn't Taxing at the Online Bookie

21 July 2000

LONDON – July 21, 2000 – As reported by The Times: "…The horses are real entries for the Martell Grand National next Saturday, they were ridden by jockeys dressed in the real silks, and the fences and the background were unmistakably Aintree.

"…The bookmaker Victor Chandler, who spurred the offshore, online betting trend when he moved his operations to tax-free Gibraltar last year, missed the climax of the virtual National he'd commissioned. He was taken ill, something that might happen to a few more bookies if fancied horses win on Saturday.

"It was an exciting enough race, although John Docherty, managing director of Chandler, admitted it would be a long time before anyone could get real punters to bet real money on virtual events. "But there might be a market for punters to put fictitious money on fictitious events from time to time, just to add to the entertainment value of our sites," he said.

"…Running alongside the Gibraltar-based dotcom site, the UK site has been operating on a provisional basis since January. Despite a total lack of publicity, it has attracted 2,000 subscribers. In the next month the company is to spend £5 million on supporting it. Any customer who registers before May 8 and then wagers £25 will receive a free £25 bet. And as an introductory offer the company will pay all the 9 per cent tax for all subscribers until further notice.

"If that sounds like a gamble, then it's a convincing sign of the rapidly growing market for online betting. Although the £19 million spent last year is a drop in the ocean of punters' cash, one recent industry survey predicted that total online gambling would grow a hundredfold in the next five years. Over the recent Cheltenham Gold Cup meeting more than 10 per cent of all bets placed through Chandler were made online. Since the company set up in Gibraltar almost every big bookmaker has started an offshore site..."

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