Channel 4 Takes on P2P

18 December 2004

Channel 4 of the United Kingdom and Betdaq, the world's second largest betting exchange operator, have partnered to create an online betting exchange. The new service debuted this week and is available though the Channel 4 Web site.

Developed jointly by Betdaq and Channel 4's 4Interactive division, the site features around-the-clock betting on a variety of sports.

The launch is part of Channel 4's movement toward offering new technological advancements. Among several enhancements are the re-designed Channel 4 racing Web site and the broadcast of alternative camera angles (resulting in exclusive live race coverage for interactive viewers).

Dave Kerr, Channel 4's head of sport, said Betdaq was a logical partner for his company as it looked to stay competitive in a fierce industry.

"At a time when the future of horseracing on Channel 4 is uncertain, we are actively pursuing ways to generate additional commercial return from the sport, and a betting exchange is a logical way of achieving this," Kerr said. "It is a further addition to the comprehensive service that we already provide punters."

Betting exchanges differ from regular bookmakers in that they provide a facility for individuals to bet against each other. The exchange is at the center of every transaction and acts as facilitator and stakeholder instead of as a bookmaker. It settles the bets in favor of the winner and charges a small commission from the winnings.

Betdaq's Rob Hartnett said the Betdaq/Channel 4 deal is indicative of where the interactive gambling industry is headed. The future, he said, could see more partnerships between gambling companies and entertainment companies.

"This partnership with Channel 4 will bring the concept to an even broader audience and further hasten the growth of a sector that has risen from nothing to an estimated annual turnover in excess of £2 billion per annum in four short years," Hartnett said.

Paul Whitehead, head of business development at 4Interactive, said the addition of the exchange and other enhancements to Channel 4's offerings emphasize the company's dedication to utilizing the Internet and other interactive delivery channels.

"The popularity of these services demonstrates the value to viewers of making Channel 4 content available across a range of interactive platforms," Whitehead said.

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