Betfair's Globalization Strategy

4 February 2003

At a time when some Internet gaming operators are struggling to get payments processed and finding it difficult to grow their businesses, continues to cement its brand as the world's leading person-to-person betting exchange.

With more than 90 percent of the market share, the U.K.-based site today rolled out new features geared toward increasing its global reach.

"The beauty of the product is that it internationalizes itself rather easily."
- Mark Davies

While the original homepage targeted British and Irish markets, the revamped site is built to appeal to bettors in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Nordic countries and North America. A recent partnership with Dr. Stanley Ho added Asia to the mix as well.

Each of the company's regionalized services is tailored to cater to local interests. The menu of betting markets is edited to suit the local audiences and all financial details are denominated in local currencies. There's also a time zone option, which enables international users to have all the data displayed in their local times.

Mark Davies, a spokesperson for Betfair, said integrating the system for multiple jurisdictions was a logical step.

"The beauty of the product is that it internationalizes itself rather easily," he said. "We don't have to have any expertise in Canadian or North American sports for us to put up the product."

Tim Levene, Betfair's commercial director, said Betfair's already existing customer base will be used to build the expanded system up.

"This launch is a major step in our international expansion plans," he said. "We already have a substantial international user base who will provide the initial liquidity. Now that we are offering many more relevant betting markets and a more customized site, we hope that base will grow rapidly."

Davies said that during the week leading up to the full launch of the site, three times as many Canada-based accounts were started than Betfair had received in the last three months.

"It is too early to tell how successful it will be, but the initial indications are good," he said. "I am not sure where they got the news from because we aren't able to advertise, but overall, the new accounts that we have opening are a pretty encouraging sign."

"If we don't get global cooperation, then we will fall flat on our face."
- Davies

The old adage "Think globally, act locally" was the guiding principle in developing the site.

Davies added, "The product has proven effectively that the appetite punters have for being able to bet on each other's prices rather than a price that is dictated to them has been proven already."

Now that Betfair has nearly every corner of the globe covered, one would think that these P2P giants would be beating their chests.

Not quite, says Davies.

"If we had that kind of belief, then we would be broaching on arrogance," he cautioned, "and we certainly aren't arrogant or complacent in terms of where we are."

That doesn't mean they don't recognize their stature as the industry leaders in the P2P market.

"Sure, life is good in that we were the first people to bring this to the world, and in that respect we have an advantage," Davies Explained. "But it isn't a matter of us sitting back now and saying, 'OK we are there.' We know that we have to continue to innovate and continue to work with governments and administrators of sport all around the world to make them see the benefits of what we bring as well as the punters seeing those benefits."

He added, "If we don't get global cooperation, then we will fall flat on our face."

In Other Betfair News

Betfair additionally announced today a partnership with the world's most visited cricket Web site,

As part of the 12-month deal, Betfair will be CricInfo's official betting exchange partner. A Betfair advertising banner and odds ticker will be integrated across the CricInfo network of sites in time for the start of the Cricket World Cup on Feb. 9.

The agreement was announced in time to maximize Betfair's exposure during the coverage of the most popular cricket tournament.

"We have long seen CricInfo as a key potential online partner, and we are delighted to have now signed a deal," Levene said. "Their global audience clearly fits our international expansion plans and with the World Cup approaching, we are keen to advertise all the advantages that the person-to-person model brings to cricket betting."

CricInfo has a global audience of more than 18 million visitors and expects to generate over 200 million page impressions in February and March, according to the site's operators.

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