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Howard Wright: Fly in the Cap says Brown not taking the exchange shilling.

Byline: Howard Wright

THE Fly on the Wall's American cousin reports merriment in the Florida region at rumours, which burst into print in Britain this week, that onetime betting exchange-basher John Brown is switching horses.

The story goes that Brown, who as chairman of William Hill led the initial campaign against exchanges, on grounds of first illegality and then preferred tax terms, is about to join Betdaq, perhaps even as chairman.

Not so, says the Fly in the Baseball Cap.

His version, which he guarantees as the truth, is that an old bookmaking contact from Ireland asked Brown to meet Betdaq owner Dermot Desmond to have a look at his umbrella company, the Dublin-based Global Betting Exchange.

Brown, who insists he is not looking for a job, liked what he saw, as a technology-driven betting concept that may one day draw in the major fixed-odds bookmakers, and agreed "to open a few doors".

P robably standing behind one of them was Hills' chief executive David Harding, which would explain the decision taken by Britain's biggest bookmaker to use the Betdaq exchange for its hedging operation.

But Brown's book of contacts extends much farther than the letter 'H', and others in the betting industry have taken up the Desmond invitation.

As for Brown himself, the Fly in the Baseball Cap has it on the best authority that he would start thinking about taking up a position with the Global Betting Exchange - not specifically Betdaq - only if one, two or three of the major fixed-odds bookmakers joined up to its service to produce strong, international liquidity. And that day is some way off.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 18, 2005
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