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IBAS still 'the only game in town' - now with added adjudication - Racing Post - Friday 31st August 2007

Bookmakers are required under the Gambling Act 2005 to sign up to an arbitration service - and that service is set to continue to be Ibas, albeit with a slight name change, writes Turia Tellwright.

The Independent Betting Adjudication Service - as opposed to 'arbitration' - was yesterday labelled "the only game in town" by Tom Kelly, chief executive of the Association of British Bookmakers.

He added: "It does not have to be Ibas, but there's no other arbitration body offering the same service to the betting industry - or punters, come to that.

"As long as the betting industry is satisfied that they are providing a fair and reasonable service, we'll continue with Ibas. They're in pole position."

Three months after announcing its name modification, Ibas itself is entering a transition period of "huge changes".

In addition to servicing the betting industry, in an effort to become the adjudication method of choice for a wide sector of gambling-related industries, Ibas is revolutionising both its website and the service's terms and conditions.

It will work with the Gambling Commission to decrease the number of betting-oriented disputes, and chief executive Chris O'Keeffe aims to spread the new funding structure across its growing responsibilities in other sectors, as well as giving Ibas a firmer footing within the industry.

"There are huge changes taking place," he said. "We're producing new terms and conditions, and a new website, where the key is to offer more information, reflecting all the sectors covered.

"Ibas has two key objectives. First, to deliver effective adjudication. Second, we are beefing up dispute prevention in an attempt to see where it can be avoided."

He added: "Ibas is changing its remit because it was first introduced nine years ago and technology has changed things somewhat since then."

The Gambling Commission's jurisdiction includes - among others - lotteries, bingo, pools, and casinos. As a result, Ibas has branched out into a number of these sectors.

O'Keeffe added: "Ibas covers a huge variety of sectors, from off-shore e-gaming to greyhounds to tote pool betting.

"We are completely separate to the Gambling Commission, but have been working closely with them over the last two years. We have a professional relationship but operate separately.

"Adjudication is universal and that's the key. We'll produce reports on dispute patterns for the Gambling Commission.

Vitally, we are the first non-statutory body to have an information share with the Gambling Commission and we hope that, in doing so, we will start an information gateway for them."

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