British bookmaker Ladbrokes, one of the oldest gambling firms in the world this week bought struggling betting exchange Betdaq for €30M, ending the speculation that had been going on for quite some time that a deal might be in the works. While nearly everyone who is interested in sports betting knows Betfair well however Betdaq, it’s poorer cousin, and only real rival never really took off.
Liquidity is essential for a betting exchange to succeed and Betdaq simply never got to the point where they could compete with Betfair. They also tried to break into other markets such as poker, joining the Entraction network in 2007 but that too was doomed to failure as the skin didn’t have the player numbers to be profitable and closed soon after.
So what are Ladbrokes plans? Will they be able to take on the might Betfair and win? They really have a lot of ground to make up, but they have a history of over 100 years appealing to the masses with some slick, and some not so slick marketing campaigns. Anyone in the UK and Ireland will know the insufferable but effective screaming man that they currently use to front their marketing campaign.
Punters are always looking for better value and most will wish Ladbrokes success with providing them to a viable alternative to Betfair whose monopoly isn’t a great thing for the customer. There was plenty of griping when they introduced the ‘premium charge’ a while back, but griping was all people could do, because realistically they had nowhere else to go.
Betfair’s share price barely moved on the back of the news, so it seems that the markets think that Ladbrokes have too steep a hill to climb to take on the kings of the exchange market.