Betfair boosted by Australian Open

Betfair, the world's biggest betting exchange, reported an 11 per cent rise in third quarter revenue, beating market expectations, with strong demand for betting on the Australian Open tennis and horse racing driving growth.

Betfair said the Australian Open had been particularly popular with the marathon five set final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadel prompting a raft of in-play betting.

"We had our best ever Australian Open, which culminated in almost £50m of bets being placed in the final," Acting Chief Executive Stephen Morana said in a statement.

Horse racing was also a driver of growth with races such as Kauto Star's victory in the King George VI chase on Boxing Day stimulating renewed interest in the sport.

Betfair, founded 12 years ago by one-time professional gambler Andrew Black and former JP Morgan trader Ed Wray, said third quarter revenue rose to £85.3m.

The company has struggled since it listed on the London Stock Exchange in October 2010, seeing its share price fall by a third on the back of intensifying competition from rivals such as William Hill and concerns over the tightening of gambling laws in some parts of Europe.