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Sportingbet Mulls Gibraltar Move

by Jason Gorringe,, London

29 August 2002

A report in the UK's Independent on Tuesday has suggested that international internet bookmaker, Sportingbet is considering basing part of its operations in Gibraltar, following a decision to move its European operation from Alderney to London in order to concentrate more on the UK market.

In Tuesday's edition of the newspaper, Stephen Foley wrote: 'Sportingbet, the online gambling company whose shares have been under attack from short sellers, has relocated its business from Alderney after the Island clamped down on companies taking illegal bets from US citizens.'

He continued: 'Sportingbet had located its business offshore to limit the tax bill, but began taking all its European bets in the UK a few months ago. It is considering Gibraltar as an alternative offshore base.'

However, according to Andre Wilsenach, Chief Executive of Alderney's Gambling Control Commission, the Independent article created the wrong impression with regard to the company's reasons for moving a portion of Sportingbet's operations onshore, implying that it had moved away as a result of the rule change:

'I don't know if that has had an effect. From what I understand, they were looking to relocate to the UK anyway,' he told the Guernsey Press and Star this week.

Policy and Finance Committee Chairman, Colonel Peter Walter also condemned the article as 'misleading', observing that the online gambling company has not completely left the Island, as it maintains a 30-strong customer service team in Alderney.

'They haven't left. They have just changed some of their methods of operation,' he explained.

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