Red odds on favourite for tele-betting drive

Newly launched offshore betting giant Ladbroke International is set to hand its high profile consumer PR account to The Red Consultancy.

Newly launched offshore betting giant Ladbroke International is set

to hand its high profile consumer PR account to The Red Consultancy.



Ladbroke International - sister company to Ladbrokes - faces tough

competition to win UK punters to its new Gibraltar-based telephone

betting service.



The race to set up in Gibraltar began last month, when Ladbrokes rival

Victor Chandler moved the bulk of its high street betting retailing to a

Gibraltar-based telephone service to exploit a tax loophole enabling it

to offer tax-free tele-betting to UK gamblers. This came in the wake of

a betting tax cut by the Irish government which prompted fears that UK

gamblers might migrate to the Republic.



Ladbroke parent company Hilton Group followed suit by setting up

Ladbroke International as a separate division to compete in this

lucrative market.



The company previously ran a small-scale telephone service for overseas

punters.



Rivals William Hill and Coral are also exploring the transfer to

telephone and internet-based services.



Following last month’s launch Ladbrokes invited consumer agencies to

pitch at short notice last week and is on the point of finalising a

contract with Red.



Red’s brief is to promote Ladbroke’s new freephone betting service among

UK punters. The brief may also extend to the company’s planned internet

service, which is due to start next year.



Hilton Group corporate affairs head Steve Duvany, who is understood to

have co-ordinated the pitch, declined to comment. Red Consultancy

founder and managing director Lesley Brend was unavailable for

comment.



The move offshore by the UK’s main high street betting outfits will

revolutionise the market and could remove pounds 480 million-worth of

taxes from the Government’s coffers.



High street gamblers in the UK are charged nine per cent tax on each

bet, whereas Gibraltar’s tax status means punters placing bets by phone

would be charged as little as a three per cent commission.



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