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Euro 2000 Will Be Biggest Ever Betting Event, Say Bookies

[June 7] According to Internet bookmakers William Hill, the Euro 2000 soccer tournament starting Saturday will be the biggest betting event of all time.

Worldwide, gamblers are expected to bet more than £150 million ($226 million) on the tournament's outcome -- and this may be a conservative estimate.

"Easy access to Internet betting has transformed the boundaries of the gambling industry," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Sharpe added that even countries with no domestic betting facilities of their own can place instant tax-free wagers on the Web.

On the Internet, gamblers can now bet on all aspects of the game rather than just the conventional win-lose-draw. For example, which country will be the first to have a player sent off? William Hill puts Belgium at the top of the list with odds of 11/2, but Sweden at 13/2 and Turkey at 7/1 are not far behind.

As for the winners, William Hill latest odds for the sixteen finalists are 10/3 Holland, 9/2 France, 11/2 Spain, 6/1 Italy, 9/1 England, 12/1 Germany, 16/1 Belgium, Czech Rep., 20/1 Sweden, 22/1 Portugal, 25/1 Norway, 33/1 Yugoslavia, 40/1 Denmark, Romania; 66/1 Turkey, and 150/1 Slovenia.

Internet betting is a sector in which British firms have found success, with companies such as Sportingbet.com expanding worldwide. The huge popularity of English and European football in the Far East is one of the major factors contributing to the growth of Internet betting.

Far less certain is whether the England players will win Euro 2000, although William Hill says at least one German client stands to win £70,000 if they do.



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