A man watches television screens in a Ladbrokes bookmaker in London. REUTERS/Luke MacGrego
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Founded a decade ago by a former Hong Kong investment banker named Frank Chan, Samvo acts as a middleman.However, bets often exceed 1 million pounds, Chan says.Whatever distaste Chan may have felt toward gambling evaporated in light of the profits he then envisioned. At first, he conducted his arbitrage by placing bets under his own accounts at competing bookmakers. Chan was also selling something more: By exploiting his old Hong Kong connections, he was the first aboveboard bet broker in the U.K. to offer access to the Asian markets, whose high volumes allowed for bigger bet sizes and lower transaction costs, Chan says.This time, however, the company won't be passing these wagers along to other bookmakers.In other words, Samvo has taken the other side of the wager in its entirety.The victory elicits only silence: Samvo's brokers and traders, intent before their terminals, have already moved on to other action – as has their boss.Despite his success, Chan believes the bet-brokering business as it now exists is past its prime.
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