Phone betting gives boost to Betfair profits

A SURGE in betting on mobile phones and the growing popularity of wagers on football has helped online gambling firm Betfair post record first half profits.

A SURGE in betting on mobile phones and the growing popularity of wagers on football has helped online gambling firm Betfair post record first half profits.

The company, which allows punters to set their own odds and bet against one another, said it had made “a very strong start“ to the football season, while bets on tennis, cricket and golf also saw growth.

Revenues were also boosted by a doubling in the number of bets made from mobile phones to 16 million after it introduced an app especially for horse racing.

These trends helped underlying profits rise 36% to £42.4m in the six months to October 31 as the company which floated on the stock market just over a year ago announced a maiden interim dividend.

Betfair said the growth of mobile gaming continued in its third quarter, with 41% of customers using a phone to place a bet in November, accounting for about 9% of its revenues.

Betting revenues through its online exchange increased 7% in the six months.

Betfair claimed its exchange continued to offer customers a better chance of winning than a traditional bookmaker even after it takes its commission.

It said 28% of the punters on its exchange made an overall profit in the first half. Its most recent profits were also boosted after it implemented price changes for a small number of customers.

The group is trialling a much faster website and plans to introduce mobile gaming to allow customers to play casino games on the move.

James Cooke, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said the group’s profits were higher than City expectations.

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