The futility of legislation in the Internet age

15/01/2016 | By | Reply More

Betfair recently decided (most likely strategically) to exit the Canada market. This is a downer for North American sports and despite online sports betting being banned in the US, as I have discovered on previous trips there, liquidity is alive and well. I wonder where that could be coming from? I’m half expecting a review from Betfair to announce a Sportbooks will be launched there in the near future 😉

No sooner had Betfair announced the exit, than username change requests came flooding in. The fact is the Internet has made outlawing something like trying to squash jelly. The activity just moves out from under your foot.


If there is one certainty about the world, uncertainty. Disruptive moments and technologies have been a way of life since time immemorial, in fact it seems the universe is built on constant change. Without it we wouldn’t be here. Change can be difficult, but only if you don’t embrace it.

As an example, I found an interesting piece on the how the internet has transformed over a decade, have a look: –

Even this is hopelessly out of date in just a few years.

Back when man decided to discard the stone for a replacement, he didn’t hold a committee on it or ponder the impact on the stone making industry, he simply realised that discarding stone and moving to a new tool was better, so he did it.

The future not the past

When you look at the Gambling industry, exchanges seem as unpopular as ever in certain jurisdictions around the world and getting more unpopular, it’s folly. While betting exchanges have changed the landscape, it’s for the better. Punters get better prices, lose less money and actually have a chance of winning for once. That sort of pisses on the argument that gambling is bad and that’s why gambling on exchanges should be banned. Legislation against them is to the detriment of local punters.

You also have the broader issue of control. Because you outlaw something, thanks to the Internet, it often just shifts borders. Better to have it under your control and benefit from it than outlaw it and lose control. New technology also drives new revenue streams. Before Betfair I wasn’t interested in the slightest interested in Racing, but now I’m interested and making a decent contribution to it’s funding in a complimentary manner. That wouldn’t exist without the opportunity that exchanges have created. If overseas markets become more liquid, and open, then that would happen there as well.

I bet you a lot of legislators arrive at their offices using cars, which obviously begs the question of why they still don’t use horses. Horses are perfectly adequate means of transport, aren’t they? I don’t know, may they cut their steak with a stone as well?



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Category: General, Industry news

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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