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Sporting Options Under Investigation

16 Nov 2004

UNITED KINGDOM – As reported by the UK Guardian: "Sporting Options, a small Sussex-based online betting exchange which has stunned customers and rivals with its apparent rapid growth, was yesterday placed in administration and police are believed to have been called in to investigate possible misuse of punters accounts.

"The move comes three months after Blue Square, an online division of gambling group Rank, ended discussions with Sportng Options over a possible £4m acquisition of the privately owned business.

"…Sporting Options was launched four years ago by former City options traders, Robert Byrne and Kevin Griffiths. Later the business attracted considerable attention after it appeared, on some sporting events, to be matching bets worth between 10% and 15% of those matched by Britain's main exchange business Betfair.

"…Betting exchanges thrive on liquidity as customers flock to websites where they are confident their bet can be paired up with a matching counterbet. The business model therefore favours the larger, more established operators.

"Several rivals have speculated that the owners of Sporting Options were using their own funds to create the liquidity necessary to keep it growing. This is not illegal.

"…The appointed administrators to Sporting Options, Menzies Corporate Restructuring, have suspended all betting activity on the firm's website. In a statement, they said: 'At this early stage we are currently assessing the financial position of the company and reviewing its business operations.'

"Sporting Options has also been thrown out of the Betting Exchange Trade Association…"

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