News that World Sports Network, China’s leading sports website, has recruited internet gaming pioneer Mark Blandford has raised a few eyebrows among Britain’s premier online bookmakers. Blandford, formerly the driving force behind Sportingbet, now runs Valhalla Investments, an offshore investment company committed to funding of the leisure industry. Valhalla is helping develop several projects for WSN and Blandford has taken a seat on the board of the Shanghai-based company which boasts it can already supply almost instantaneous football score updates well as match stats and betting news. Should WSN, which has both an English and Chinese service, be developing a betting division, it could have serious repercussions for firms currently operating in the Far East with the Chinese market, in particular, booming in the wake of the Beijing Olympics.
Talking of Sportingbet, the multi-national Channel Island-based online betting operator recently announced plans for further expansion with websites targeting new customers in Romania and South Africa due to come online in the near future. Live streaming of sports events on sportingbet.com began in October but the company’s main aim recently has been to attract some positive press reviews after a couple of years which has seen their chairman prosecuted in New York for illegally betting online and a drawn-out wrangle in the Australian courts with Racing New South Wales over on-course advertising.
Controversy isn’t confined to Sportingbet, however, with Paddy Power in the dock again over its advertising campaigns. After being censured in April under the Gambling Act over an advert featuring a dwarf. the Dublin firm have now had their knuckles rapped by trying to drum up interest in which airline would be the next to fall victim to the credit crunch. I guess this is one market that wasn’t destined to take off!
Best online bookmakers