Wednesday 8th June 2011

Customers of Betting Exchanges

At its meeting today, the Horserace Betting Levy Board further considered the position of customers of betting exchanges in light of various submissions made to it in respect of its consultation, subsequent submissions and its legal advice.

By a majority vote, the Board rejected a resolution to institute Part 8 proceedings.

The Board considered making an application to the Court under Part 8 of the Civil Procedure Rules, designed for the resolution of certain disputes, but decided not to pursue that route for the following reasons (with one of the majority not accepting point 1 below):

1. The Board considered and accepted the legal advice it had received from Lord Pannick QC and Michael Fordham QC, advisors to the Board, (which advice also took into account the views of those who had made submissions to the Board and the legal advice that they had received) that customers of betting exchanges (acting in that capacity) do not constitute leviable bookmakers under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963.

2. The risk that a Court would not regard the Part 8 procedure as appropriate in the circumstances.

3. The potential costs involved.

4. The ability of an interested party, which believes that the Board has reached the wrong conclusion on the law, to test that conclusion through Judicial Review proceedings.

Subsequently the Board also decided on the casting vote of the Chairman, in light of point 1 above, that it would not seek to impose levy on the customers of betting exchanges.