Betfair chief spoke his mind on prohibition

Edward Wray, the respected founder of the Betfair online gambling empire, spoke his mind on the American legal situation in an interview with the UK publication Real Business this week, commenting that he was not a fan of prohibition as an alternative to regulation.

That said, Wray does not intend to take any risks and told the publication: ""We're not interested in going into grey areas. We have 25 people in our legal team and we get professional, detailed opinions on every country that we operate in. As a rule, however, I don't believe in prohibition; it's futile. People will find a way to gamble online, regardless of whether you tell them not to do it."

The interview follows news earlier this week that Betfair has acquired the US-based TV Games Network from Macrovision for $50 million in cash . TVG is among the most widely-distributed horseracing networks in the world and is also a leading provider of [legal] advance deposit wagering services in the U.S. TVG covers racing from 70 tracks 16 U.S. states, including the key racing centres of Kentucky, California and New York. It also accepts bets from residents of those states, dividing the profits with the racecourses concerned.

David Yu, CEO of the Betfair Group Ltd, commented then: "We have waited to enter the U.S. market until we had a high quality, and above all, legal product offering, and we believe with this acquisition we have secured those goals."

Yu also stressed that Betfair has no plans at present to introduce its betting exchange model into the US market, but will use its cutting-edge technology to improve the pari-mutuel betting services offered to TVG clients. "We have waited to enter the US market until we had a high quality, and above all, legal product offering, and we believe with this acquisition we have secured those goals," said Betfair's chief executive.

Wray was pragmatic regarding the change in the political leadership in the United States, voicing an opinion on whether President Obama is likely to prove a better bet for online gambling. "I'm delighted that he won but, let's face it, gambling legislation isn't going to be on the first or second page of Obama's to-do list," Wray opined. "I think the country will move to regulation but it may take five years, it may take ten years.

"We've had the luxury of growing at our own pace over the past decade and we've spent tens of millions of pounds on technology. Our website won't fall over.

"When the US does open up, we'll be ready."

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