Betfair Considers $2.5 Billion Public Offering

And other European online gambling maneuvers

by , Aug 24, 2009 | 10:52 am

Apparently our good friends across the pond are a bit more optimistic about the notion of the US opening its online gambling market in 2010 than we are … and in preparation, the buzz around England is that Betfair — the British online poker-and-more company and title sponsor of WSOP-Europe — is getting serious about making an estimated £1.5 billion ($2.5 billion) initial public offering.

The intent would be to raise capital in preparation for all sorts of crazy consolidation and forthcoming acquisitions in the online gambling sector.

At least one Betfair exec dismisses the talk as little more than speculation, despite meetings with Credit Suisse and other banking advisors that have the European financial press getting their knickers in a bunch as “companies seek to position themselves to enter the world’s biggest gambling market.” Should the rumored floatation happen, it would be the first major listing on the London Stock Exchange since the global economic collapse.

$400k HORSE

At the same time, Betfair last week made another move toward American soil by pledging $400,000 to the New York (Horse) Racing Association as an overlay should two specific horses face off against each other in October at Belmont Park:

Rachel Alexandra, the first filly to win the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown since 1924, has won her last eight races. Zenyatta is undefeated in 12 career starts, including the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic.

LOL, I didn’t even realize they had ladies events in horse racing!

Across the Chunnel: Refashioning French Poker
Arnault.

Betfair also just got themselves approved to enter France’s online gambling market, which is set to open next year … apparently with some nice poker-friendly alterations to the rake. (The new French law originally had players paying tax on every bet and raise, on every street … which can totally screw with your pot-odds calculations!) Helping get Betfair to the front of the French licensing line, with a better rake structure no less? Heavy lobbying efforts from billionaire bling merchant Bernard Arnault, CEO of Louis Vuitton, 10 percent owner of Betfair, and the 15th richest person in the world.

New-and-improved Yahoo! Poker Coming Soon

We’re talking Yahoo! Uk & Ireland, of course, not Yahoo! USA. The British arm of the web behemoth just re-upped its partnership with GTech G2, for two years, to provide real-money gaming options — and part of that deal includes plans to unveil a fully downloadable real-money Yahoo! poker room, not just the (lame) in-browser version currently available.

Magazine Moguls Jump into Mobile Gambling

PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan recently said that the biggest threat to established online gaming brands comes from major media outlets, not current competitors. And sure enough … Dennis Publishing — the mega-magazine company behind Maxim, MacUser, Computer Shopper, Bizarre, Men’s Fitness, and more than a dozen other publications (including PokerPlayer, Inside Poker Business, and Stacked) — just launched its Monkey Mobile Casino, offering real-money online gambling on handheld devices. (The current issue of Monkey, fwiw, features a picture of Lady Gaga’s recent nipple slip.

The Swedish Taxman Cometh

Meanwhile, the Swedish Tax Authority (Skatteverket) has been studying all forms of internet commerce tax evasion since 2007, and has concluded that online poker companies with offshore servers are one of their biggest sources of uncollected e-commerce taxes.


  • axom
  • DanM

    whoop! now if only i could get the link from them!
    :)

  • http://betting.betfair.com/poker/ Dave

    Maybe, but Sarah Lacy (the writer of the piece) has been discredited recently.

    http://www.wolf-howl.com/news/sponsored-posts-techcrunch/

  • http://www.right2bet.net Nate Pearce

    Sooo… betfair will not be allowed to operate in France. Terrible news. You can sign the petition to force the E.U government into taking the continents gambling regulations into their own hands at http://www.right2bet.net

  • Peter

    It seems that EU national governments continue to defend their national monopolies in the online gambling sector instead of pursuing a single and truly open European market where consumers can choose the provider they desire.

    Consequently, consumer initiatives such as Right2bet are gathering to advocate a single open European market in the gambling sector. Have a look at http://www.right2bet.net and sign the petition that will be presented to the European authorities.

  • DanM

    I’m just starting to learn European politics (thanks to poker), but in terms of that truly open European market, I gotta think that might be some 50 years away, no?