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Overseas gamblers to take advantage of William Hill site

Tax-free betting site is closed to UK punters though

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High street betting office giant, William Hill, is to set up a gambling Web site aimed at European and Asian people who want to bet on UK football matches. That’s soccer, to the rest of the world. UK gamblers will not be able to participate though, as the site will be based on the Isle of Man. Despite being part of the UK, the Isle of Man has its own tax laws which will prohibit UK residents from taking part. Graham Sharpe, William Hill media relations manager, said there would be a UK equivalent to the site by August. “We set this site up for the World Cup and now we’re giving it a revamp. It’s aimed at international gamblers who are eligible to settle their bets without paying UK tax. Obviously we are not able to extend that sort of service to UK residents.” The company has a large Far Eastern customer base and will be hoping the football Web site will pull in the Asian punters in droves. Sharpe said William Hill had no idea how big the online gambling market is. “This is still a fledgling market and in truth, no-one has a clue how big it could be. We’re optimistic, though.” Despite its squeaky-clean image, UK gambling has had its fair share of set-backs recently. There has been an increase in the number of allegations of match-rigging at Premiership games, from those that led to Bruce Grobbelar and Justin Fashanu being cleared of such charges. More recently, the Metropolitan Police in London made a number of arrests after the floodlights at Charlton Athletic’s ground were found to have been tampered with. A connection was made by some in the football world between the tampering and overseas betting syndicates. ®

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