Betfair gets a boost from Aussie Open

City A.M. Reporter
BETFAIR, the online betting group, yesterday said it took £50m of bets on the marathon Australian Open tennis final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, highlighting the growing popularity of in-play gaming on major sporting events.

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, the world’s biggest betting exchange said yesterday.

“We had our best-ever Australian Open, which culminated in almost £50m of bets being placed on the final,” said acting chief executive Stephen Morana.

Betfair, founded 12 years ago by one-time professional gambler Andrew Black and former JP Morgan trader Ed Wray, reported an 11 per cent rise in third-quarter revenue to £85.3m, topping a consensus forecast for £84.8m, according to a company-supplied poll of ten analysts.

Morana, the company’s finance director, is holding the chief executive role on a temporary basis ahead of the arrival of Breon Corcoran, who will join the company in August from Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.

The company also confirmed Ed Wray would step down as chairman to be replaced by ex-Railtrack chief executive and city veteran Gerald Corbett.

Shares in Betfair, which have risen by 45 per cent in the past six months, were down 0.45 per cent at 881p.