Betfair is back on the track

The Australian newspaper The Age reports that Betfair's incoming chief executive in the land of Oz, Andrew Twaits, says the economic slowdown is having little impact on the firm, and after four months of trading in its new financial year Betfair is on track to beat its goal of 30 percent sales growth.

Fears that the licensing of Betfair in Australia and licensing the Darwin-based corporate bookmakers to operate on Victorian racing would affect the traditional wagering provided by Tabcorp have proved to be unfounded, judging by the results so far over the spring carnival.

In fact, Tabcorp's win and place wagering figures have been on the increase since Betfair resumed operating on Victorian races from last July. There is little doubt that, rather than affect it, Betfair had stimulated Tabcorp turnover.

Twaits said this week that there was no doubt that the opening up of Australia's wagering industry, particularly Internet wagering, had led to increases in turnover by all providers, including Tabcorp. The disclosures have disproved dramatic claims by traditional horse racing associations and politicians who opposed Betfair's licensing that it would impact adversely on the industry.

In partnership with Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, Betfair was licensed by the Tasmanian Government early this year and was given the go-ahead in July to operate on Victorian races under the racefields legislation along with the corporate bookmakers.

Twaits told The Age that 6 500 Betfair clients had placed more than 66 000 bets on the Melbourne Cup, or 10 bets each.

"The nature of our business is very different from Tabcorp because our customers are taking advantage of the changing market to back or lay a horse." Twaits said. Interestingly, 60 percent of Betfair's business on the Melbourne Cup, which involved about A$4 million, came from overseas clients compared with 30 percent on the Caulfield Cup.

"There is no doubt that Internet and telephone betting is the largest growth area in the wagering business and for us, the Melbourne Cup was right up there with the World Cup soccer and the NRL and AFL grand finals," Twaits said.

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