New office gives online gambling group more options should the "regulatory environment evolve".

Betfair's quickly subscribed offer of 10 percent of its shares on the London Stock Exchange (see previous InfoPowa reports) perhaps over-shadowed an interesting paragraph in the prospectus issued by the company's bankers last week.

The comment concerned plans for a new office employing some 100 people in Dublin, Ireland which, taken in conjunction with an earlier observation by a Betfair spokesman, has triggered some speculation.

The spokesman noted that competitors based offshore enjoyed the advantage of lower taxes than those levied in Britain, yet still have access to UK punters via 'white listing' arrangements regarding advertising.

It's a situation that has frustrated other UK gambling groups and one that saw Ladbrokes and William Hill Online depart for Gibraltar and a more benevolent tax regime earlier this year (see previous InfoPowa reports).

So far, Betfair has been adamant that it has no immediate plans to join the offshore exodus, but it has pointed out that if there is no movement on the manner in which offshore bookmakers are treated under UK regulations, it has no alternative but to ensure it has in place “...the right contingencies to run the business effectively".

Some observers have noted that the prospectus refers to the Dublin office as providing "...the Betfair proup with additional flexibility as the regulatory environment evolves", interpreting that as an expression of interest in what the British government does about addressing the threats to UK-licensed companies by offshore based competitors with access to UK advertising.

The government's DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) is currently engaged in an internet gambling consultation which began in March.

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