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Scotbet for sale as bookies suffer

Scotbet, Scotland's biggest independent bookmaker, has been put up for sale.

Accountant KPMG has been hired to arrange the sale of the 74-shop chain. Scotbet's chief executive, Kenny Waugh, and its finance director, Richard Spanner, were not available to comment, but the business is thought to have struggled in the recent downturn.

Scotbet is part of Mr Waugh's Festival Group, which saw its pubs and hotels business lose nearly £6.5m in the two years to July 2009.

Scotbet is not the only bookie to have been hit by the downturn. The industry is worried that the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will approve an increase next week in the horseracing levy that betting shops pay from around £65m to as much as£150m. Will Roseff, the chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee, believes the increase could result in 400 betting shops closing.