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sheer hypocrisy from Victor Chandler

Front page of today's Racing Post - "Chandler ups ante with levy pledge related to exchanges". The British betting industry's no.1 tax and levy dodger, Victor Chandler, who led the move to Gibraltar over a decade ago, has pledged to start paying levy on his offshore business if Betfair gets taxed/levied as he believes is right!

What right does he have to declare himself holier than thou? He currently pays levy on his ONE shop in London and his on-course racing business, which would hold a pittance in turnover compared to his Gibraltar business.

"The whole centre of the problem with the levy lies with betting exchanges," he says. This is the bloke who did a runner to Gibraltar in 1999 to avoid paying tax and levy in the first place. How can the system be screwed because of exchanges when tax-dodgers like him started the avoidance of levy before Betfair was even founded?

"I will make a promise today that if the BHA and the British government make the betting exchanges pay the correct amount of levy, and by that I mean ten per cent of all gross profits from every lay bet on exchanges, I will START paying the same levy tomorrow. I will also lobby all other offshore bookmakers to start paying the levy once more."

Again, the myth continues that there are thousands of unlicensed layers out there making huge amounts by laying every horse on Betfair. Try doing it in 100% markets, rather than at SP, and then paying commission and premium charge on top of that - it is nigh on impossible. It's about as realistic as the American 'Reds under the Bed' campaign in the 50s. Make enough noise about pure fiction and someone might eventually believe it.

Betfair's markets are not purely backers or layers. Why shouldn't I be able to back one horse and lay another?

"Oh sorry, you have to pay 10% extra for that bet sir"

"Oh well, I'll just back every other horse in the race then, using my spreadsheet to balance up the stakes. Exactly the same bet and no extra tax on that"

And, we all know, that a large chunk of exchange liquidity comes from traders - hundreds of them, backing and laying favoured horses with no opinion at all, just reading the market like a financial day trader. These guys provide strong liquidity on favourites in particular, which gives strength to the market, rather than allowing bookies to collapse the market and reduce their SP liabilities. Do we really want a return to the days where corporate bookies can destroy a market in the final couple of minutes to manipulate their own figures? The ring has to be stronger than the corporates, and at the moment, that is underpinned by Betfair.

Do Betfair pay the right amount of Levy? Perhaps not, but charging on the basis of individual customers is just plain wrong - these are the same guys who have been restricted/closed down by most other firms. And winning punters will have winning accounts with numerous firms, not just the one anyway.

Victor Chandler's advertising budget has obviously been cut so he needed to sprout some utter tripe to get himself on the front page again for free publicity.

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