The future of Britainâ€™s first ever Betfair betting cafe is in serious doubt.
Launched as a revolutionary concept in April 2003, Easibet is now at the centre of a disagreement between owner Henry Spurway and the world\’s leading betting exchange, Betfair.
Both sides in the dispute are talking in terms of a possible court action and the centre of the contention is the commission generated by the punters who use the betting terminals.
Betfair charges winning punters commission and while Easibet has received a percentage of this for all new clients it attracts, Spurway sustains that Easibet is also entitled to a share of the commission for existing Betfair customers who use Easibetâ€™s premises.
“Easibet is still an idea I firmly believe in. I have tried to keep going in the belief Betfair were going to pay me, but it never happened. With running costs of around Â£3,000 per week, if I were to continue without getting the commission, things just wouldnâ€™t get any better,” Spurway said.
“Our lawyers have advised us that there is no merit whatsoever in the claims Mr Spurway has made. We would be very surprised if he decided to pursue the matter but if he does, we will happily defend our position,” a Betfair\’s spokeswoman responded.
Two leading bookmakers are looking over a possible buy-out to revert the premises to a traditional betting shop. For now the doors of the Easibet outlet in Edinburghâ€™s Tollcross area, which have remained bolted for the past few days, are “closed until further notice.”