Betfair going from strength to strength

And with summer of sport ahead the dot-com exchange could cash in further...

And with summer of sport ahead the dot-com exchange could cash in further...

Pioneering internet betting exchange has recorded continued growth after its model of allowing punters to trade bets with one another continued to win hearts and minds among the UK gambling public over the past 12 months.

Betfair is increasingly singled out as the current poster child of UK dot-com success and reported a 61 per cent increase in annual revenue and an 87 per cent hike in profits to support such claims.

Revenue rose to £107.1m, from £66.7m, for the year ended 30 April 2005, while profits were up to £22.3m from £11.9m. The company also paid £26.9m to the UK taxman.

Betfair will be hoping a summer of sport, including the Lions Tour of New Zealand and Tim Henman's annual flirtation with the second week of Wimbledon, will help to boost its takings which as broker rather than bookie are consistent whatever the outcome. The company is also sponsoring this summer's Ashes series between Australia and England.

The company reports more than 95,000 monthly active users and claims to process more than three million bets per day - "99.9 per cent of which are executed in less than a second," according to Stephen Hill, CEO of Betfair.

The company also boasts a blossoming overseas user base with 16,000 active users outside the UK, accounting for almost a quarter of all revenue.

Hill said the results were a great way to celebrate the company's fifth birthday. However, it's unlikely Hill and co. will be resting on their laurels, having recently obtained a licence to operate out of Malta. This could enable the company to offer a greater array of markets and gaming options outside the remit of tighter UK jurisdiction - including poker - and could theoretically enable the company to shift its business model offshore if the review of UK gaming regulations doesn't meet with approval.

Betfair has not yet announced its intention for the Maltese licence, though.

The betting exchange's annual accounts include the one-off exceptional cost of the £3.9m rescue package it launched to bail out customers of rival Sporting Options.

Betfair now employs 500 people in the UK.