Betfair passes $1 billion in annual mobile wagers

POSTED BY Global Administrator
Yesterday, Goodwood really was glorious: warm, hazy sunshine over the South Downs, several thousand ladies in head-gear that made that of a certain Royal princess seem distinctly anodyne, myriad gents in linen suits and panama hats, and several hundred bookmakers absolutely coining it in. (They certainly were from one telecoms analyst who emerged late in the afternoon with a wallet rather lighter than when it had first entered the Gordon Enclosure, and who will no longer be taking any tips from the racing correspondent of the Times.) Anyway, regardless of one’s own misfortunes (Noble Storm: blown out; Overturn: overtaken and disappeared into the pack with a furlong to go; Violet Da Gamba: a shrinking violet amongst fellow horses in the 4.20), the bookmakers will certainly have enjoyed themselves yesterday, and not just those who were cheek by jowl next to the racetrack. Their remote cousins, as has been increasingly the case in recent years, will also have taken a hefty amount of wagers on Ladies’ Day, and – although clearly it’s too earlier for data collection at this time – a goodly proportion of this year’s haul will have come over the mobile. My musings in this regard were stirred by the news that Betfair, in its most recent financial pronouncement, had confirmed that in the past financial year it took over $1 billion in wagers via the mobile and recorded an 88% year-on-year increase in revenues from this channel; that mobile customers rose from just 9,000 in 2009 to 75,000 last year and 168,000 this year. In a blog in May I remarked at the recent achievements in mobile announced by William Hill and Ladbrokes; the figures coming out from Betfair and from Paddy Power – whose COO Breon Corcoran stated earlier this month that mobile users had risen from 50,000 in January this year to 120,000 in April – confirm that the consumer smartphone revolution has well and truly come to the gambling industry. Indeed, Raj Vemulapalli, Betfair’s VP Mobile Engineering, has stated that the company has now placed mobile at the very heart of its business strategy, a far cry from pre-iPhone days when few bookmakers were convinced that mobile gambling was an area that they should be – if you will pardon the pun – betting on. Within the past few days, both Betfair and William Hill have reinforced their individual commitment in this regard by rolling out enhanced and expanded product ranges for smartphones: William Hill has relaunched its mobile site in collaboration with Mobenga, while Betfair has upgraded its web app to improve in-play betting features and enhanced its iPhone/iPad apps to enable deposit and withdrawal to a registered card via the mobile device. In short, the mobile side of the gambling industry is in extremely good health. Unlike, post-Goodwood, your blogger’s wallet…