World Bet Exchange closes, citing burdensome UK regulatory changes

Online exchange betting outfit World Bet Exchange (WBX) has shut down, but not before identifying its murderer as Colonel Cameron in the conservatory with the online point of consumption tax (POCT).

WBX officially closed its doors on Monday (16) at 5pm GMT. While betting has been suspended, customers can continue to log on and withdraw their account balances. WBXMail will continue to function and the site’s Member Services Team will still be on hand to provide support between the hours of 9am-5pm GMT. All long-term markets will be “settled in the normal way, when results are known.”

In an email to WBX customers, CEO Malcolm Gray said that he was proud of his team and also “the fairness in which the exchange has operated.” Gray offered assurances that WBX would “continue to service its members and affiliates in the same spirit during the wind-down period.”

Gray said he’d “always taken a long view with WBX” but regulatory changes in the UK market had made the writing on the wall clear. “Unfortunately the business strategy is no longer viable due to the rising costs of regulatory compliance and levies in the United Kingdom, along with the increasingly prohibitive stance of various betting jurisdictions.”

WBX launched in November 2006 in what Gray described as a bid to offer “a genuine alternative to Betfair,” the UK’s leading betting exchange. WBX attempted to woo Betfair customers by offering reduced commission but that strategy proved ineffective when faced with increased compliance demands. The UK instituted its controversial 15% online POCT in December and Betfair recently said the new levy had already cost the company £7m.

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