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More on letters

I commented the other day that William Hill’s David Hood had done more than any other person, in my view, to promote Betfair.

But today’s letters page of today’s Racing Post points out that he hasn’t been alone among the traditional bookmakers in being able to claim some credit for Betfair’s success.

Andrew Henderson from Nottingham writes as follows:

“From my experience with all major layers, no matter what you ask for at early odds on any event, your request is without exception referred to a trader before invariably comes, “Sir, I can only offer £25 at those odds but you can have the rest at SP.”

I would say Mr. Benson was very lucky to get £200, particularly each-way.

These incidents happen daily, hence the migration to Betfair.”

It is certainly true that the reason Betfair was set up is that the gap between what punters wanted and what they were being given grew ever larger; and we simply filled it. Indeed, our founder, Andrew Black, came up with the idea precisely because he was a frustrated punter. It’s one of the great ironies of the debate with the bookies that they helped make us what we are.

Incidentally, we remain acutely aware of that fact today, and of what the effect would be, were we to open a similar gap ourselves. That is why – despite what some think (and therefore the perception that we sometimes manage, unfortunately, to create) – we are by no means complacent as a business (to an earlier debate on this blog).

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