Belfast Telegraph

Eurocrats' plans for bigger bets could bust the bookies

BOOKMAKERS are facing major changes in the handling of big bets and payouts if Eurocrats have their way.

Proposed European anti-money laundering legislation could turn out to be a financial hammer blow to layers both on-course and in shops.

A delegation of European MPs have been attending race courses in England to see how on-course betting operates.

The problem centres around a new European directive which would require layers to carry out due diligence for bets of €2,000 and more. The same ruling is proposed for winnings exceeding that amount.

Imagine the delays and chaos in what is a fast-moving market place and at major meetings such as Cheltenham and Royal Ascot where big bets, often in tens of thousands, are taken without the bat of an eyelid.

Due diligence will require customers to produce acceptable identification and bookmakers having to check where money is coming from.

The delays involved and the systems needed to operate such a directive could prove frustrating and costly. In fact, the betting industry are talking in the region of £100m.

The bookmaking lobby are hoping to persuade EU legislators to give them an exemption.

They have already gained the support of the Treasury.

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