Betfair $10M Into U.S. Racing Exchange Site

Published: December 7, 2011 04:45 pm EST

Stephen Burn, the CEO of TVG and Betfair, said that his company has already spent 10 million dollars on the development of a U.S.-based exchange wagering site for horse racing


Speaking Wednesday afternoon (December 7) at the Racing and Gaming Symposium in Tucson, Arizona, Burn said that his company, the world's leader in person-to-person betting, is looking for active participants within the industry to move forward.

"One of the things apparent to me now is that there is a crisis in our industry. When the patient is dying you need to work on solutions and not bleed the patient."

"We're going to put together a coalition of the willing and look to collaborate and put the customer first. We need to put it out in the market and see if it works."

Burn said Betfair is proposing an exchange wagering site with a 10 per cent takeout, versus the three to five per cent takeout rates offered overseas.

"For it to work it needs the racing industry to work with a pricing model that puts the customer first," said Burn. "We put forward a 10 per cent commission structure. The proposition we have is that for every dollar we earn, we want to give the sport two dollars."

Burn pointed to legislation in California that will open up that state to exchange betting in the near future.

"We've so far spent over 10 million dollars to create a unique exchange for U.S. racing. Racing should recognize that there's a train coming with relaxed legislation on online betting and racing better make sure it doesn't get left behind."

Burn warned that the consequences of inaction are dire.

"Frankly it's disastrous, it's catastrophic. If we depend on slot machines rather than look at ourselves to create the answer, that's a disastrous approach."



The disappointing part of this story is, it shoudn't have to be a business like betfair who starts the conversation about the race game needing to be competitive and to give there customers a fair shake. A reduced competitive takeout is something this industry should have taken upon themselves a long time ago and they would have if they were truly interested in rebuilding there customer base.

Betfair or a similar model has no chance to be accepted in North America. It would destroy the governments 50% takeout rate in Sports betting or the 25-30% in the Racing handle. Theft by Government must supersede everything else!!


THE FRENCH PMU ( takes 13.6824% on simple plays like win, etc. and on exotic, tiercé quinté - 25.9972%.
The french government takes a big share for national taxes of the pmu take off.

But again, Pmu (oftrack betting) an pmH (bets on the tracks are for the interest of the industry. There are no commercial operator in France since the law of 1891 an 1901

I wish that all Canadians fans, one day, take a vacation to see the Prix d'Amérique, each year ,the last sunday of January.

Richard Lavigne. FYI Betfair is a publically traded company traded on the London Stock exchange with 1.3 billion dollar market cap. It has over 5 million customers world wide and growing. Betfair is accountable to its shareholders and its customers. It far eclipses the French state horse racing model you keep going on about in you're previous posts. Moreover,the French racing industry tried to ban Betfair from operating as it threatened their sacred monopoly of overcharging customers with their 30 per cent takeouts.

Betfair has revolutionized the betting industry and is attmepting to do the same thing North America. Racing is in such dire straits not because we haven't copied the monopolistic French model but because we haven't given patrons a low cost gambling alternative that can compete with online sports betting and poker. If North American racetracks embrace the Betfair model it will be big first step in attracting young customers and rejuvinating the industry.

In reply to by JWood

John Wood,
You said, the PMU has a higher take out than yours.

But The PMU is owned by french breeders, the french owners and Minister of finance. This is why the purses are so high, the breeders premium on each race to breeders, Schools for the young, professionnal associations, all the 300 racetracks in France are non-lucrative associations, the nicest training centers, the finest veterinarians schools.
The secret of their success is that the profit is returned to the owners-breeders not to commercial operators that give you whatever they want to give you, and have their police to make sure that horsemen work for them, etc..

I have been very interested about other success like Japan, the 1962 agricultural law, the local racetracks, their breeders award, their school, their off track betting, etc. (looking like in model copied from France, n'est-ce pas ?

I was born in the province of Quebec, where our ancesters had the french horse for survival and sport. In 1900, we had the nicest fair ground in North America, 101 certified race tracks and commercial operators that were buying the licenses to kill the competiton and at the same time killing the growth of fans.

My brother Guy (Jean-Guy) instead of going to the university, he left for Florida for the Miron farm, and then after for Mr Billy Haughton, and others before returning to my new farm in 1974.

In 1972, Billy said to my Brother, Now with the offtrack bettings, our industry will die.
Now, the video poker, the casino etc..are stealing the pari-mutuel clientele and soon no more fans for pari-mutuel and the dynamic.

In America, they just don't understand, do not want to understand. The commercial operator, the government, God, Jehovah, etc. will always save them.



Since Americans and canadians don't know about the europeans success, Bet fair and mr burn shoul inform us about his intentions, who owns bet fair, is it a non lucrative association ?, about their success like in britain.

than, breeders and owners could give their own opinion.

in 1994, jean lesne of the société du cheval français came in québec city, to meet a deputy responsible for a politic on the horse racing industry.
I was the responsible for such a reunion and was there at the National assembly.

The french representive offered $200 millions to the quebec government and our industry to install the pari mutuel in , at the beginning, 2500 machines in the province of quebec. and at the same time, he was recommanding our plan, 1985 about new tracks, fairs, like we had before and also proposing all the professionnal personnel.

The minister of finance refused, and the horseman controlling the ATAQ, Association trot et amble du Québec, were also against.

Who's bread I eat, who's song I sing.

Too bad for our industry. Why Quebec does have any more horse racing ?I did publish a statistic 1980-2000 and the stat show clearly that the grey market of video poker stole our pari-mutuel.
No pari mutuel, no dynamic, .
My reference always been France PMU.FR)and the non lucrative associations.

One day, the minister, the governor will take all the money from video poker, casino, etc. because they alkways short of money.
That what happen in Quebec, and our horseman, owners and breeders coud not believe that the quebec government would close our 150 years old industry.
Now, the québécois are all cryng and no more dream.

I`m not sure there is any political will in the racing industry for real, meaningful change. The major players seem content to exist as a welfare state, with slot money propping them up. Customers first, ya, that would be refreshing. All I`ve heard lately is that the tracks want table games and possibly sportsbooks for their casinos. Havent heard any meaningful ideas for the horseplayers or to increase handle. Certainly a reduction of takeout to competitive levels seems like a logical start, but again, there seems to be no will to move towards that. I see marketing gimmicks at the tracks, like the meaningless win4 guaranteed pools, that always get to those levels anyway.

Mark Gooding

Well finally somebody who understands that the customer/gambler must come first if horse racing is to survive. I love the jist of his message especially when he says--when the patient is dying you need to work on solutions and not bleed the patient. He goes on to talk about a 10% takeout and a pricing model that puts the customer first something that i have been saying for 2 plus years that the industry must do if it is to try to rebuild it's customer base. I expect Mr.Burns has no idea how much resistance he will meet within the industry because one thing i have become very aware of from my years around this sport is they do not like change no matter how positive the change may be but i thank him anyway for pointing out the obvious which i have tried to do for the last 2 years. To fix this sport they must be competitively priced with other forms of gambling and if they are not all of the other ideas they come up with are a complete waste of time.

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