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industry news round-up

Ladbrokes have joined the list of UK firms avoiding setting up in France under the current unviable licensing structure. Several firms have simply decided not to waste their time and money in a market which will deliver nothing for several years, and only if/after the French government water down the current prohibitive licensing and taxation structure. The last straw for Ladbrokes was when the French govt decided on top of extortionate turnover tax and sports rights levies, they would also have to pay VAT as well. Unibet however, who have a similar model to Bwin, of taking vast numbers of low-stake bets, are pressing on.

The Betfair IPO is off to a good start. Conditional trading has the shares trading at around £15.30, after the initial valuation of £13. Tomorrow is the acid test for them though, when they become available to the public.

Betsson is going from strength to strength as live betting pushes their revenues higher. Bwin, Hills and Sportingbet have released similarly healthy results in recent weeks.

Eastern European bookie Fortuna raised €78.3m with their October IPO.

Tasmania are going down the route of most other Australian states by imposing race fields fees for wagering operators. Lucky all the other states have already gone down that route, there's no way they'd be able to do it if they tried to be Robinson Crusoe... Betfair Australia have set up (not sure how new this is) a site which details the facts behind Racing Industry funding in Australia, and dispels the myths and propaganda from bodies such as Racing NSW.

Two former Betfair colleagues have set up Gaming Edge Associates, an industry consultancy firm, and recently launched the company website.

And last but definitely not least, I was planning to have a big rant about the hypocrisy of British Horseracing Authority chairman Paul Roy being chairman of an investment fund which purchased £5m of Betfair shares, the same firm he has sledged and slandered repeatedly in his racing role over the Levy debate. But I simply don't think I can say it better than ATR presenter Sean Boyce in his brilliant blog post.

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