Main Menu
Top of Page
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email

Welcome to the News desk.

Betfair revenues leap after luring poker punters 01/10/2007
Katie Allen

Revenues at the betting exchange BetFair have jumped by a third after it lured record numbers of punters on the back of last summer's football World Cup and a revamped poker game.

Marketing and a new online casino also helped Betfair enjoy a 57% leap in active users to more than 433,000 in the year to April 30, according to the private company's results published today. That drove up like-for-like revenues by 30% to £182m as Betfair shrugged off a tough regulatory environment. But one-off investments of about £12m meant pre-tax profits dipped to £25.3m from £36.5m a year earlier.

While rival companies have been hit by an American crackdown on online gaming, BetFair says it has been unaffected thanks to a long-standing policy of refusing bets from the United States.

But it has sought new customers in other countries as it moves away from dependence on the UK market. Customers outside Britain contributed 38% of total revenues last year, up from 32% in 2006.

Betfair has licences in the UK, Malta, Germany, Austria and Australia and will soon start trading in Italy.

David Yu, chief executive, said: "It has been a very exciting year, during which significant steps have been taken towards transforming Betfair from a mainly UK-based betting exchange to the world's leading legal e-gaming site."

Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair allows punters to bet against each other, a concept it has pioneered. Prices are set by punters and the odds are consistently better than those from other bookmakers.

Set up seven years ago by former professional gambler Andrew Black and Edward Wray, a City worker, the exchange now has more than one million registered users. Betfair claims that its technology platform processes up to 5m transactions every day - more than all European stock markets combined.

The company, which is still 25% owned by its two founders, once considered a stock market flotation but that is no longer thought to be on the agenda. BetFair now plans to use its strong cash reserves - it has £180m in corporate funds and no debt - to move into new markets and launch more products.

In the last year it poured £22m into research and development, including its cyber-casino and the integration of Timeform, a horse-racing form guide business bought in November 2006.