The ethics of parimutuel systems
One strand of the moral case for the superiority of parimutuel systems of betting over bookmaking emphasises that, as the name implies, the bettors are betting amongst themselves and that there is no discrimination against any individual bettor or groups of bettors. This claim is undermined by three deviations from the pure parimutuel principle found in many systems. Given that there is a close inverse relationship between the income/wealth of bettors and the average odds of the bets they place, the three deviations—higher deductions from long odds (“exotic”) pools, higher deductions from pools when longer odds horses win and the paying of minimum dividends—each move a parimutuel system in the unethical direction ofregressive taxation.
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