Betfair Group plc is the world’s largest Internet betting exchange. The company’s headquarters are located in Hammersmith in West London, England. Since 9 March 2011 Betfair has operated its betting exchange under a Gibraltar licence. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it merged with Paddy Power to form Paddy Power Betfair on 2 February 2016.
The company was founded in 2000 by Andrew Black and Edward Wray.
Softbank purchased 23% of Betfair in early April 2006, valuing the company at £1.5 billion. In December 2006, Betfair completed the purchase of the horseracing publishing company Timeform (which traded under the name Portway Press Ltd).
In March 2007, Betfair launched its own Betfair Radio service, available via its website, on the telephone and elsewhere. This has now become Timeform Radio, broadcasting horse racing commentary and results.
On 27 January 2009, Betfair announced the purchase of the TVG Network in the United States from Macrovision $50 million USD as part of Macrovision’s dissolving of TV Guide’s assets.
In November 2009, Betfair announced a deal with the New York Racing Association that allows Betfair’s customers to start wagering immediately on Aqueduct’s thoroughbreeding races.
Betfair floated on the London Stock Exchange with a stock symbol of BET on 22 October 2010 at £13, valuing the company at £1.4bn ($2.2bn).
In March 2011 the company moved some of its operations to Gibraltar to reduce the amount they paid in tax.
In 2012, Betfair launched a fixed-odds betting sports betting service to compete with traditional bookmakers.
In August 2014, Net Entertainment NE AB entered into a partnership with Betfair to expand its reach into the UK market.
It was announced in September 2015 that Paddy Power and Betfair had agreed terms for a merger. The transaction was structured as an acquisition of Betfair by Paddy Power and the enlarged entity, named Paddy Power Betfair, is based in Dublin. The merger was completed on 2 February 2016
Since Betfair was launched in June 2000 it has become the largest online betting company in the UK and the largest betting exchange in the world. Betfair claims to have over 4 million customers (1.1 million active customers) and a turnover in excess of £50 million a week. As of April 2013, the company employed 1,800 people worldwide, down from 2,300 people. Betfair claims on average 20 percent better odds than those offered by a traditional bookmaker. Betfair charges a commission on all winning bets, which is set at 5 percent of the net winnings for most markets, although according to how much a client wagers on the site, it is possible to reduce the amount of commission paid to as low as 2 percent. However, if a bettor on the web site is long-term profitable Betfair will require them to pay at least 20% of gross profits in total charges and this figure may go higher. In late autumn of 2005, Betfair finalised a deal that began in early summer, to purchase the online poker site PokerChamps.com, which the company will integrate into its network, replacing a poker arm that previously used gaming technology software from CryptoLogic Inc. On 30 October 2006, Betfair Poker left the Cryptologic network to move to its new platform. In a press release the company’s then poker head, Ben Fried, stated: “Having our own poker software puts us in command of our own destiny. It means we can react quickly to customer feedback and continue to develop an innovative, community-focused product. We are confident that we are laying the foundations of a market leading poker room.”
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