Betfair Withdraws Online Sports Betting From Germany, Blames Country's Tax Rules
Online gambling group Betfair "has withdrawn its online sports betting exchange in Germany, blaming the country's gambling tax regime for making its main product unviable," according to Simon Goodley of the London GUARDIAN's Market Forces Live Blog. The company "has been arguing with German tax authorities that its main product should not attract the 5% tax on stakes, as it does not actually take bets but allows punters to bet with each other." Shares in the group "initially slumped on the news -- although they have recovered since and are trading slightly down on the day" at around £7.5 ($12). The company floated in '10 at £13 a share on the back of a growth strategy that included geographic expansion. Betfair said that "the remaining part of its business in Germany, which includes poker, casino and more traditional fixed-odds betting, would now be minimal following the withdrawal of the product" (GUARDIAN, 11/7). WETTZENTRALE.net reported that Betfair "will shut down its German-based online sports betting website on Friday" (WETTZENTRALE.net, 11/7).