flutter.com Appeases the Pony Punters

24 April 2001
For many Britons, betting on horse racing is more than a harmless pastime; it's practically an avocation. Thus, with so many punters interested in betting specifically on the horses, flutter.com, a leading person-to-person betting site, needed to come up with a better way to serve its customers' needs. Last week, they introduced their new racing exchange platform with no fanfare and lots of success.

"The reason we developed this product," explained Tim Levene, flutter.com's business development director, "is our one-to-one service was fantastic for other sports, but not for racing. Racing punters really needed this immediacy because all of the action is really happening five to 15 minutes before the race."

Bets are shown by a board divided into three columns: The top three "back" bets are featured in the left column; the best odds offered on-course are shown down the middle; and the top three "lay" bets are listed in the right column. As each bet is accepted, more bets pop up on the screen. When races are imminent, the wagering is fast and furious, with bets barely staying on the screen more than a second or two before being accepted and replaced by new bets.

flutter.com says the racing exchange delivers the best value to serious race bettors by eliminating the over-round, which should provide a "perfect market." Punters benefit from faster bets, the best prices and liquid markets, Levene added. Plus, the new "smart escrow" feature helps punters make "smarter use" of their cash.

For example, if a customer places a £100 bet with 10-1 odds, the maximum exposure is £1,000. "Only one horse can win," Levene explained, "so we allow you to use your cash to your maximum exposure, rather than having to put up separate individual amounts for each bet."

He continued, "It's basically working out your liability and it's making more effective use of your cash, which is pretty powerful. This system automatically works out all your liabilities."

Although the company is chary about sharing its turnover or user numbers, Levene said that the racing exchange is "doing tremendously well." And not only has it proven successful among current flutter.com customers, he added, but even more have signed on specifically to use the new feature.

A marketing effort to promote the product will commence in a few weeks.