Betfair Australia Opens for Business

8 February 2006

Betfair's license to operate a betting exchange in Tasmania became effective Tuesday; it may now advertise and operate its computer terminals from its hub in Hobart.

The company marked the occasion with its first advertising stint--a blimp flying over the international cricket event at Hobart's Bellerive Oval.

Andrew Twaits, Betfair's corporate affairs manager, told Australian reporters that he anticipates a slow start in Australia.

"We haven't been able to set up any infrastructure on the ground anywhere in Australia until we've had a license," Twaits explained. "So it's important to us from a business perspective that we're able to do that now."

He added, "It will take weeks and months to ramp up our customer base and that's what we fully expected."

Twaits revealed to the Sydney Morning Herald that Betfair already has about 2,000 active customers in Australia.

Meanwhile, numerous parties continue to oppose the British company's presence in Australia.

"It makes it harder for us bookmakers to compete," said Robbie Waterhouse, an on-course bookmaker in New South Wales. "We cannot know what our competitors are doing."

Waterhouse and others believe bookmakers should be permitted to view the Web sites of Betfair and the territories' corporate betting agencies while they operate on the tracks.