Betdaq Goes Wireless

19 August 2003

With an eye on gaining a larger share of the P2P market, Ireland-based Betdaq this month rolled out a wireless platform that enables customers to access and place wagers on the company's betting exchange using mobile devices.

"We are delivering what customers are looking for, even before they realized they were looking for it..."
- Rob Hartnett

The platform is passed off of Microsoft's Pocket PC software, which is prevalent in most handheld devices. The operating system is run on the XDA, the combination PDA-mobile phone sold by O2, as well as the Hewlett- Packard iPaq.

It won't initially be available for Palm OS systems, although subsequent versions could be Palm OS-compatible.

The early version of the system will likely be replaced by a full-fledged system by year's end.

The service was demonstrated last week at the Glorious Goodwood race meeting in West Sussex, where gamblers could compare the odds offered at the track with those from the betting exchanges.

The system is designed to deliver the same options that are available online, but certain sacrifices had to made to bring the service to wireless devices.

"The key has been in striking the right balance between speed of delivery and quality of content," Betdaq's managing director, Rob Hartnett, pointed out. "There are many rich elements that make up the full Betdaq online experience, but to deliver all of these to a mobile device would be impossible without sacrificing too much speed. Live market prices and speedy execution of a bet are what we need to deliver to customers, and that is what the trial is doing."

The wireless exchange has been available for less than a month, and Hartnett said improvements are already in the plans. Glitches, he said, have been minor.

"The bleeding edge of technology is an uncomfortable place to sit" Hartnett said. "The overall response has been very enthusiastic. We are delivering what customers are looking for, even before they realized they were looking for it, but it is certainly an area that will see substantial growth and development in the near future."

Betdaq is backed by Dermot Desmond, the Irish investor who also owns London City Airport and a large chunk of Celtic football club. It's the second largest betting exchange, behind only Betfair, in the marketplace. Both leading exchanges have bookmakers' licenses in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Dublin-based New Symphony, a sister company to Betdaq, is the primary technology supplier for the new wireless system.

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