Industry beat: Can Ladbrokes challenge Betfair in exchange market?

If you don’t have an account at Ladbrokes, you may have missed the biggest news in the sports betting industry this week.

The UK bookmaker launched a beta redesign of its sportsbook site, paving the way for its upcoming sports wagering exchange offering. It’s a cleaner-looking and easy-to-navigate site with some new features that now enable the bettor to access account details and deposit funds right from the front page - a vital addition, as anyone with an e-Commerce background can tell you.

Perhaps the best feature for those simply browsing the site for odds and events is you can now switch easily between fractional, decimal and American odds, something that always puzzles me as to why more sports books don't offer this.

The betting exchange has been anticipated for some time now following Ladbrokes' acquisition of Betdaq back in January for €30 million. Ladbrokes also hired former William Hill COO of online business Jim Mullen this spring as its digital director.

It all adds up to what Ladbrokes hopes is the first serious disruptor for Betfair, a site that has dominated the exchange market since it burst onto the scene in 1999.

Typically, exchanges are more popular in Europe where gambling has been part of the social makeup forever. Sharp bettors love exchanges for the advantageous lines that present middling opportunities during live events and sportsbooks use them to legally lay off their action.

The challenge will be in displacing a brand that essentially has a monopoly on the exchange side of the sports betting market. Betdaq pulled in €2.8 million after tax profit last year and had over €35 million in assets according to one report from The Telegraph.

Not bad. But with a claim of over 950,000 customers, Betfair is 20 times its size.  

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Look for Ladbrokes' exchange offering sometime early in the new year. 

Other sports betting industry news:

Deadspin published a piece this week that ripped data-driven NFL pick providers this season.

Team Rankings wrote a great response to Deadspin that's worth a read.

A poll this week showed support for sports betting is declining slightly in New Jersey

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