Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Bettor Than Before

For anyone considering moving to California, but for whom a major stumbling block is the unavailability of Betfair in the United States, there is promising news, even if it will not take effect until May 2012, just seven months before the world ends anyway.

The promising news is:

In the US, the state of California took a step towards the implementation of Betfair-style exchange betting last week after a proposed bill from Assembly Speaker John Perez passed the Assembly Government Organization and Appropriations Committees following a compromise deal.

Assembly Bill 2414, if passed as is, would increase the amount of money horseracing tracks can take from wagers while also putting measures in place to attract the prestigious Breeder's Cup to California on a permanent basis.

However, the most controversial portion of the proposed legislation would allow bettors to take side bets and set their own odds. This had been opposed by Magna International Developments, owner of the Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields tracks, and members of the California Thoroughbred Trainers but, a last minute compromise brokered by State Senator Ron Calderon saw the Bill pass through the committees unanimously.

Although the proposed legislation was originally due to come into force immediately after passage, Calderon's compromise would see implementation of exchange betting delayed until May 2012 in order to permit tracks and the California Horse Racing Board to study its effects.

The compromise saw Magna International Development withdraw its opposition to the plan and the legislation subsequently passed through the state’s Assembly last week on its way to the Senate.

According to a report from the Pasadena Star-News newspaper, opposition to the proposed legislation now comes ‘primarily from thoroughbred trainers and the owners of Churchill Downs in Kentucky’. Trainers see exchange betting as a first step towards race fixing and have cited suspected examples in England and Australia.

“We remain opposed to this Bill,” said Darrell Vienna, Southern California Vice-President for the California Thoroughbred Trainers.

“But, amended it's better than before.”
Yes, I would say so. In a country that likes to call itself the "land of the free" people really aren't very free. Steve Chapman wrote a very sensible piece in the Chicago Tribune:
Whenever the federal government tries to prohibit citizens from engaging in “a peaceful, popular, and enjoyable activity,” said Steve Chapman, people ignore the law and do it anyway. That’s why Congress should move forward with a proposal to lift the ban on online gambling. “Law or no,” millions of Americans with broadband connections spend $6 billion a year on offshore gambling sites, making the U.S. “the biggest online betting market on the planet.” That represents a massive amount of lost tax revenue for the U.S. treasury.

Some people consider gambling immoral, but in a country where we condone lotteries and casinos, “there is no moral argument” for excluding one type of gambling. Indeed, at this point the main argument against legalizing online gambling is that it will hurt casinos, off-track betting parlors, and state lotteries—but that’s life in the free-enterprise system. As for the charge that legalizing online gambling will transform millions into gambling addicts, Great Britain made it legal five years ago, with no upsurge in addiction. So let’s grow up. Internet gambling can’t be stopped. Why try?


freddy said...

hey, nice article

I have been looking around online for an update on the situation regarding online gambling america and betfair usa, is it any closer to fruition?

Rod Hull said...

If they give the full go ahead for exchange betting it can only be good for us and some proper competition for Betfair (ie. no PC) should be up and running because Betdaq just didn't capitalise on their amazing chance they had with a lack of a big recruitment drive when they had the chance.

Wayward Lad said...

This blog is a mine of information, well done. I was surprised that gambling was not a target of the last budget in the UK, and it is only a matter of time till betting tax returns in some form or another. I expect that the bookmakers will want any new tax to only affect the exchanges, and they will threaten to move their business offshore if they are subjected to heavier taxation.
Wayward Lad (www.waywardlad.blogspot.com)