‘Significant’ Betfair shareholder pushes back against Levy foes

Betfair-Shareholder-Pushes-BackEverybody’s been piling on Betfair lately — the British Horseracing Authority, Sportingbet, William Hill, even Tasmania… But the volume has really ramped up ever since the betting exchange announced its intention to make an initial public offering. (People get a little hyperbolic whenever the word ‘billion’ gets bandied about.) These critics want Betfair to pony up a thicker wad o’ cash to the horseracing Levy, one more reflective of the massive sums the company ‘handles’ for its customers.

Now a former Betfair PR Director, Mark Davies, is pushing back against these demands, and he’s using Bodog to bolster his argument. After Bodog posted odds on how well the company’s IPO would come off, Mark played devil’s advocate, using his blog to question Bodog’s right to offer such a wager. Mark pointed out that setting up the IPO has cost Betfair a small fortune in time, effort and money, whereas Bodog had invested nothing, yet stood to profit from using the IPO as the subject of a wager. Mark felt that if the BHA could claim a proprietary right over its horse races, Betfair could claim ownership of the IPO, and charge a rights fee for anyone seeking to profit from it.

Of course, Bodog’s position would be that placing a wager on the outcome of Betfair’s float is probably a safer bet than actually purchasing the stock. Viewed in that light, Bodog putting up this market can be seen as something of a public service, one it doesn’t feel it needs permission to perform.