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Sports Internet gambles on Surrey Group

Deal values bookmaker at £19.7m

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So what do you do when you are a Internet "sportal", when you have a stock market listing but next to no revenues? This one's a no brainer: you buy a bookmaker. Latest merger on the block is Sports Internet, which is buying Surrey Group plc for £19.7 million in shares. For the faint-hearted Surrey shareholders there is a cash and share alternative, that values the company at £15.6 million (a piffling four per cent higher than yesterday's closing mid-market quotation price). Sports Internet is to integrate Surrey into its Planetfootball and Opta football statistics business. Gambling-wise, racing is the big thing in the UK, but the Government's nine per cent tax on transactions is driving phone-based bookies overseas to seek more congenial locations (Surrey's telephone-based gambling business is conveniently situated in the tax-free shelter of Alderney). Government intransigence will drive the growth of UK gambling over the Internet and over the phone. The bigger game is overseas -- South East Asia for generates huge soccer gambling revenues -- much of which hangs on British soccer results. A safe Internet haven would bypass all the problems associated with endemic gambling corruption in that region. So Sports Internet has everything to play for. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register

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