Betfair takes a gamble with fixed-odds bets

BETFAIR could launch its new fixed-odds betting service by this summer as it bids to keep hold of clients who are turning to rival bookmakers.

The move, which Betfair has mentioned in passing for several months, could launch within the next few months and will see the company open its arms to a gambling system it previously dismissed.

The new service will offer a fixed-odds sports book – allowing customers to bet against the house rather than against each other – to cater for those who wish to gamble during a sports match, get early prices on a particular event or place novelty bets.

Betfair currently acts as a person-to-person exchange that connects players willing to place similar stakes on the same event – thus cutting out traditional middle man the bookie.

But the gambling facilitator, which launched in 2000 by marching coffins saying “death of the bookmaker” through the streets, insists it will not go against its roots.

Betfair boss Stephen Morana assured last week: “Our sports exchange always has been – and always will be – Betfair’s core product.”

In October Numis analyst Ivor Jones said the move could increase Betfair’s profits by more than 50 per cent.