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Betfair to Dip Toe in US Horseracing Market


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Leading UK online betting exchange, Betfair, has announced its
intentions of making a move to enter the highly lucrative American horseracing
market – estimated to worth in excess of £8.5 billion a year – based on
the speculation that the United States is easing its gambling regulations.

Despite the current global economic recession, Betfair is one of the few UK
companies that is continuing to thrive, proven by its recent succession of
expensive acquisitions. These include its recent purchase of large American
online horse wagering and race betting firm, TVG, in January for $50 million.

TVG, which is also a popular horseracing television channel, is broadcast
to over 30 million homes across the United States and daily provides over 15
hours of live sports coverage to subscribers. In 2008 TVG reportedly processed
over half a billion dollars in wagers, making it an attractive buy for Betfair.

It is only since Betfair bought TVG that the large UK betting concern has
contemplated making a move into the United States, given the strict controls
that are in place to protect the nation’s lucrative horseracing industry.
Betfair is planning to completely ‘revamp’ TVG, to ‘bring it into the 21st
century’.

Said Betfair USA president and TVG head Gerard Cunningham, ‘With regards to TVG,
it is our aim to be able to offer every single racetrack and have access to
every single race. We are broadening the bases.’ The company recently launched a
new on-demand video streaming service on its website.

Plus, in the last six weeks TVG has reportedly added 30 racecourses to its
current broadcast portfolio. While online casino and online poker is currently
illegal in the United States, American gambling fans are continuing to wager
tens of millions of dollars every day at off-shore online gambling operations.

Betfair employs a global workforce of 1,600, including 400 computer engineers.
It processes over 5 million transactions every day from online gambling fans
based in the UK, Malta, Italy, Australia, Germany, Austria and the United
States. Its revenue in the year to April 2008 was £240 million.

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