Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Noughties And Floating

This article, reflection on the last decade, was posted by Greg Wood Thursday 31 December 2009 12.58 GMT on

How it changed for the better The launch of Betfair in June 2000 has brought profound change to racing and betting, and was responsible for a golden decade for punters. When there is not a single newspaper tipster in the country whose return beats a blind bet on the favourite, you can be sure that form horses are running with exceptional consistency. By giving the authorities access to betting's "money trail", Betfair has also made racing much more difficult to corrupt. Other sports now come to British racing for advice on stamping out betting-related corruption.
How it changed for the worse The on-course betting market is dying on its feet (an inevitable, but less welcome, result of Betfair's arrival). Traditional racecourse bookies who travel the country to shout the odds are on the way out, and the track is a less exciting sporting venue as a result.

2020 vision: There is no reason to think that the second Betfair decade will be any less significant than the first. If they can crack America and then float, then by 2020 the international betting market could be increasingly dominated by Betfair and — perhaps - one other exchange. Fixed-odds and high-street shops will be seen as a very old-fashioned way to bet.
And continuing on the topic of Betfair floating, the Sunday Times today has this:
Betfair, the online gaming exchange, has selected two investment banks to advise it on a £1.5 billion stock-market flotation.

It is understood to have chosen Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to weigh up options for its future, which include a possible sale or share listing.

A deal could lead to a giant windfall for Betfair’s founders, Ed Wray, a former JP Morgan trader, and Andrew Black, once a professional gambler. They own 25% of the company between them.

It could also mark an exit for Japanese backer Softbank, which has a 23% stake. However, a float is unlikely to take place until the autumn.

Travelport, the hotel reservations group, last week announced plans for a £1.8 billion listing, firing the starting gun on a dash to the stock market for a host of private companies in 2010. Hugh Osmond’s latest cash shell, Horizon, also fleshed out plans to raise £500m next month for deals.

On Betfair, gamblers can bet against each other instead of a bookmaker. The firm took two billion wagers last year and reported earnings of £72m, a 29% rise, on sales 27% higher at £303m.

It believes it is well placed to lead a consolidation of the gaming sector.

No comments: