The government’s oft-criticized alternative to the horse race levy has today received backing from an unexpected source ahead of a possible change to the system later this year.
IOC president Jacques Rogge already recommended that countries taking part in any form of the Olympics should look towards regulating gambling and today he’s gone even further into the world of gambling legislation.
“Specifically we are in favour of a system where betting operators have to be licensed by the government,” said Rogge, adding this would help monitor irregular betting patterns and also the companies’ finances.
“Sports organisers, national federations and international federations would have a fair return for all their efforts for organising the sport. They should be recognised with a return from financial income.”
Earlier this year this “betting right” was the same proposal put on the table a parliamentary debate over the future of the levy and is largely cast in a dim light by the bookmakers.
The main reason for this is that most bookies feel they make a fair contribution to sport already and shouldn’t be made to pay more.
We contacted a number of leading online bookmakers including Betfair, William Hill, and StanJames to try to gain more of an understanding on what they thought, but unfortunately, none were available for comment at the time this article went to press.
Any move to create a betting right is likely to be largely problematic given that most of the sites operating in the UK market are based offshore, and until the Gambling Act is changed, none of them are likely to have to pay the fee.
Rogge also used the meeting to tell the world that illegal betting generates around $140billion and that it’s the duty of the entire world of sport to combat it.