Hills to appeal High Court Betfair ruling; Channel 4’s Ladbrokes-pimping criticized


william-hill-betfair-appeal-ladbrokes-channel-4Bookmaker William Hill has launched an iPhone app that allows punters to wage on the outcomes of ‘virtual sports’ i.e. football plus horse and dog racing. Hills is promoting the app as something to fill the barren wasteland that your life resembles when there are no live matches or races on which to have a flutter.

It seems there’s a giant void in Hills’ own life when there’s no pending litigation to end the perception that Betfair customers who lay bets aren’t acting as bookmakers and thus should be exempt from having to make mandatory contributions towards the UK racing levy. In July, the High Court rejected Hills’ bid to overturn a Horserace Betting Levy Board ruling that betting exchange users did not qualify as bookmakers. However, Hills spokesperson Kate Miller now says the bookie has been given leave to appeal Lord Justice Stanley Burnton’s decision. The case will be heard in March. GamblingCompliance quoted Betfair’s legal eagle Martin Cruddace saying the exchange was “happy to take part in a replay of this issue” but Cruddace bemoaned the picking of an old scab “just as the sensible elements of racing and betting were finding common ground.”

Channel 4 Racing has earned the ire of Ofcom for what the UK broadcasting regulator considered C4’s “unduly prominent” promotion of a betting offer from program sponsor Ladbrokes. The donnybrook stemmed from an interview with Lads’ David Williams during the Sept. 15 broadcast of C4’s Racing: The Morning Line. Williams invited viewers to partake of a special Lads money-back offer on the horse Camelot’s chances of scoring a triple crown. The pitch was accompanied by onscreen graphics touting the offer, which presenter Tanya Stevenson described as “phenomenal.”

After receiving complaints from viewers – viewers who presumably work for one of Lads’ competitors – Ofcom investigated, eventually determining that the onscreen graphics accompanying Williams’ pitch demonstrated that the show’s production team knew in advance the offer would be made and that there was “insufficient editorial justification” for the piling on. However, Ofcom conceded that C4 hadn’t received compensation from Lads for the extra promotion. C4 said it had opted for the special treatment because it felt Lads’ offer represented a “significant development within the betting market” but now recognized that the “delivery of the item was not appropriate.” Ladbrokes, along with Hills and Bet365, have signed on as sponsors of C4’s racing coverage in 2013.