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Howard Wright: The Fly thinks Games give bookmakers opportunity.

Byline: Howard Wright

THE Fly on the Wall called within minutes of the Singapore surprise, offering a dewy-fresh slant on one take-up from the Olympic euphoria.

The legislation is in place and a special Olympic 2012 scratchcard will be launched as soon as Tessa Jowell gets back from the celebrations and presses the button.

At the moment, the betting shop industry is no more than a bystander, since there's a regulation in the Horserace Betting & Olympic Lottery Act - the same legislation that allows for the sale of the Tote and abolition of the Levy Board - that specifically prohibits them from selling tickets.

However, the Fly reckons that the government may be open to persuasion to change the wording, in order to get the balls rolling in as many legitimate, regulated outlets as possible.

Hearing Wednesday's news within reasonable earshot of DCMS officials minding the shop while their MP overlords were doing the business in the Far East, he got the distinct impression that the bookmakers ought to seize the moment and press to become National Lottery agents.

They have argued in vain to be allowed to sell twiceweekly draw tickets. Now could be the time to inquire politely but purposefully about doing their bit for the Olympic appeal.

Every penny counts from this moment on, and the Fly has a feeling that even the lottery operator Camelot would not stand in the bookmakers' way.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2005
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