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Betting Isn't Taxing At The Online Bookie

28 August 2000

UNITED KINGDOM – Aug. 28, 2000 – As reported by The British Times: "It was a close run thing as the horses thundered up to the second-last fence at Aintree: Choisty, a 50-1 outsider landed first by a whisker.

"…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.

"But this race was being projected across the walls and on a bank of PC screens at a bar in London's Covent Garden, ten days before the real event.

"…The keener observer would have spotted a few details. In this race there were no fallers and, although the going was good, as the horses' hooves struck the turf not a single clod flew up. Welcome to the world of virtual racing.

"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.

"…[The] point of this little demonstration was to launch two new services: the Victor Chandler UK site that I found very easy to use to squander my points, and a telephone business for those who prefer to bet through a London-based operation despite the 9 per cent tax charged.

"…Nobody else, though, has run a virtual race. The result was based on a database shortly to go online as a racing analysis service. It works by predicting 18 different form and condition factors and, for the virtual National, was fed through an animation program similar to those used in racing arcade games…"

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