It should come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that Mr Market is fond of a little wager on the gee-gees. Indeed, many are the drizzly Saturday afternoons spent down at the local racecourse, frugally hoping his latest filly fixation comes to fruition. The latest race that has drawn our enigmatic commentator out of the stalls and into the paddock is between betting shops in Britain, battling out for the prize.
Sitting comfortably out in front is William Hill, closely followed by Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, and Coral. It is a densely packed field, but certainly has pedigree: Ladbrokes this week reported that third-quarter operating profit has nearly doubled, helped by the World Cup into boosting revenues 13 per cent. Other bookies are similarly flush. However, dark storms brood on the horizon, indicating there may be some mud ahead for our champion chompers. The threat of increasing regulatory and tax burden has sent shares in Ladbrokes down six per cent even as it reported strengthening results. Mr Market makes no suggestion, of course, that the regulatory storm may die down after, say, May 7 2015. However, even as he is ever eagle-eyed for a bargain bet, Mr Market would be careful before jumping into the saddle of this muddle.