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MIDLANDS BOOKIES QUIT NAB.

FRESH evidence of dissension among racecourse bookmakers has surfaced with the decision of the Birmingham & Midlands Bookmakers' Association to disaffiliate itself from the National Association of Bookmakers, writes Graham Green.

The organisation, which has 60-odd members, is now hoping to merge with the rival trade body, the Association of Racecourse Bookmakers, which was formed in February.

The BMBA officially severed its links with the NAB at a special meeting on Tuesday, having been suspended on March 22 over a row that dates back to late last year centred on the fees being charged for daily lists of runners.

Reacting to the news yesterday, John Stevenson, chairman of the NAB, said: "This is a very small association, but we would rather not lose anybody, simply because if you stand together you are stronger than if you stand apart."

The ARB, whose launch from a Midlands powerbase was prompted by disenchantment with the NAB, will be balloting its 150 members over the proposed merger, but this is expected to be a formality.

John Geddes, acting chairman of the BMBA, said: "Although our refusal to pay the charge being demanded for the lists brought matters to a head, there has been growing discontent among our members over the NAB for some time.

"The NAB has failed to reform itself on a number of occasions and it is still chugging along in its old-fashioned way, and we feel the time has come to wipe the slate clean and start again. If everything goes through OK, the ARB will give us the opportunity to do that."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Greene, Graham (English writer)
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 1, 1999
Words:261
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