U.K.'s BetFair sees horse race betting opportunity

Jun 30, 2009 5:10 PM
by Ray Poirier |

Frustrated gamblers who are being denied the opportunity to wager online, because of a federal prohibition, should and will be encouraged to turn to horse racing, says BetFair, the English company that now operates TV Games Network (TVG), the Internet horse race wagering company.

The British firm, that has made such a huge impact on wagering since it was founded less than 10 years ago, entered the American market in January by acquiring TVG, considered the largest provider of racing wagering content.

As long as Washington insists on preventing gamblers from placing their bets on the Internet, BetFair says, American horse racing should flourish. This contradicts the recent experience at American racetracks where both attendance and handles have suffered. In fact, the industry may be surviving because of the introduction of slot machines at many tracks throughout the country.

In Britain, BetFair customers can wager to win or to lose since the company has set up an online exchange that acts as a middleman between those who are willing to set odds on a horse and those who are prepared to accept that wager.

That sort of wagering is not permitted in the U.S. but that has not discouraged BetFair. The innovative company is about to launch a social network around the TVG website to generate more interest in horse wagering. It also hopes to encourage horse betting from sports bars via mobile phones.

BetFair is betting that marketing is the key to a successful future.