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Foley-Train report

The report by Jason Foley-Train, the DCMS official, in relation to sports betting (legal, commercial and integrity issues), written up in various places today, landed on my desk with a thud yesterday. It’s a very detailed analysis, the conclusion of which appears to be that the argument that sports should be paid by betting just for putting on the show (in other words, the argument as advanced by SROC) is ‘not robust’.

It also makes the very interesting point that while the betting industry is attacked for not paying any tax (or existing in tax havens), many sports governing bodies do much the same.

It will be very interesting to hear the response from SROC, or the individual sports; or any of those who have argued for a statutory levy (Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian, perhaps, since he regularly has a pop at me (such as here and here) for making the opposite case).

When we published a pamphlet last year making our case about why Betfair’s levy payments are the right payments, we hoped for a response from the racing industry to the points that were made. Sadly, none were forthcoming. There was no rebuttal or even substantive response; just an accusation that the document was ‘propaganda’.

I hope that the reaction of the sports is not the same to this document. If there’s a good counter argument to Jason Foley-Train’s analysis, let’s hear it. I’m all for a good debate. It’s when the response is ‘we don’t care what you say or how you support your argument, we think the opposite just because that’s what we want to think’ that I get frustrated.

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