Yahoo gambles on betting exchange venture

The portal is teaming up with Betfair to bring online gambling to the masses

Yahoo has announced a joint venture with UK betting exchange company Betfair to launch a gambling site aimed at the mass market.

Yahoo Betting, as the site will be known, is due to launch in March and is designed to take the advanced features available on Betfair's main site and make them accessible to a Yahoo's user base. The exchange will be accessible through the sports and finance sections of Yahoo as well as from other areas across the portal.

"By creating a customised Betfair exchange for the Yahoo platform, we are offering the revolutionary dynamics of an exchange to a wider audience in a more traditional and customer-friendly way," said Betfair's chief executive Stephen Hill.

Betfair was set up in 2000 by former professional gambler Andrew Black and ex-city trader Edward Wray.

Betfair's model applies the collaborative power of the Internet to the traditional bookmaking model by allowing punters to bet at odds set by other gamblers rather than a bookmaker.

The model was slow to take off at first, with the fledgling site matching less than £50,000 of bets a week in its first month. A year later that figure had grown to over £1m a week and it now stands at some £50m.

Betfair's vulnerability to down-time has not gone unnoticed by the criminal fraternity. Earlier this year, Betfair, along with several other online betting companies, was targeted by cybercriminals threatening distributed-denial-of-service attacks unless a ransom was paid.

To read a full interview with Betfair's chief technology officer David Yu click here.

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