Betfair Plans Web Gambling on Horses in California

Published on: December 7, 2010 

Online gambling company, Betfair, is quite confident that it can revitalize California’s slumping horseracing industry.  The company’s Chief Executive Officer, David Yu, has stated that the company will spend the following year working very closely with regulators in California in order to ensure that all new laws are clear to consumers and to create a system that pours enough revenue into the state and the horseracing industry.

Yu’s bold comment has resulted in other operators sitting up and taking notice of the possibilities in the USA as they realize that regulations for internet betting become viable in certain US states.

David Yu also stated that they would ideally like to see well-regulated markets with regulation that protects the consumers and feels that there should be a tax framework in place.

London-based Betfair has had many years experience in bringing legal sports betting to the Web and since the State of California passed a bill in September allowing horse betting through online exchanges, the company has set its sights on California.

Stephen Burn, Betfair’s global director of racing, revealed that they have opened an office in San Francisco and their intention is to more that quadruple its workforce next year to approximately 100.  California is the first in the nation to legalize what they call “exchange wagering” and this law will take effect in May 2012.  

Forty-eight year old Burn, who moved to the state from England a year ago, added “There’s potentially massive upside there for us.  We don’t share the doom and gloom that other people have been coming up with about U.S. horseracing.”

California gamblers are currently restricted to pool betting.  Therefore, money which is wagered on a horse is shared by those who win.  Exchange wagering is similar to a stock exchange where a racing fan bets on a horse to win or lose even after the race has started with the odds changing in real time.  Betfair, as the developer of the exchange, is given a commission on each wager.

In the past ten years, the amount bet on races in California has dropped by approximately 10 percent while attendance at the tracks has gone down by more than a third.

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