|Fred, co founder, chairman and CEO|
Peter Done, co founder
Betfred is a bookmaker based in the United Kingdom, founded by Fred and Peter Done.[note 1] It was first established as a single shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967. Its turnover in 2004 was more than £3.5 billion, having risen from £550 million in 2003. It has its head office is in Birchwood, Warrington and also has offices in Media City, Salford Quays, Salford.
Done Bookmakers was first established as a single shop in Ordsall, Salford in 1967. Fred and Peter Done financed the first Done Bookmakers shop with capital made from a winning bet they placed on England to win the 1966 World Cup.
In 1997, Done Bookmakers acquired the Robert Walker chain of bookmakers, taking their total to one hundred shops. By 2000, the total number of shops nationwide had risen to 200, and in 2002, Done Bookmakers opened their first shop in the Greater London area.
The current name Betfred was first used in 2004. In 2004, Betfred also launched their digital platform Betfred.com and offer sports betting, online casino, online games, bingo, lotto, online poker and virtual sports as well as pool betting. In November 2004, a Betfred customer became the first betting shop millionaire; a customer known only as Ken selected six winners on the totescoop6 and pocketed £1,132,657 in a Salford shop.
Betfred’s retail expansion continued with shops opening around the United Kingdom. Betfred's five hundredth shop opened in Cardiff in 2005. In 2013, the company established Betfred TV, an in house channel that is available in all shops both on the high street and on the racecourse. This was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Fred Done was the first bookmaker to pay out early (i.e. before the result was guaranteed), when in March 1998 it paid out to gamblers who had bet that Manchester United would win the Premier League, only for Arsenal to pip United by one point.
During the 2004–05 FA Premier League season, Done lost £1m to fellow bookmaker Victor Chandler after staking that amount that Manchester United would finish higher than Chelsea. The bet was offered to other high profile bookmakers yet only Chandler took him up on the offer. Chelsea finished 18 points clear of third placed Manchester United and won their first Premiership title under Jose Mourinho.
In 2013, it was widely reported that Fred Done formed part of the 'Red Knights' consortium that were looking to buy English Premier League club Manchester United from the current owners the Glazer Family. The reports proved to be incorrect but Done remained a season ticket holder at Old Trafford.
As of July 2017, Betfred operates over 1650 shops throughout the United Kingdom, after the purchase of 322 shops due to the merger between fellow bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral in October 2016. Betfred also operates shops on 51 racecourses around the country, including Newmarket, Epsom and Cheltenham. In August 2017, Betfred appointed former Nottingham Forest and England footballer Stuart Pearce as its brand ambassador. The company believed Pearce to be the epitome of Betfred; uncomplicated.
In September 2017, Betfred celebrated their fiftieth year of business. A documentary film about the history of the company was released on the official Betfred Youtube channel. In July 2018, Betfred won a court case against HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The ruling states that Betfred overpaid Value-Added Tax (VAT), and could see a £100 million refund.
In November 2018, legal action is planned against Betfred after a punter appeared to win a jackpot of £1.7 million but the company claimed, this was due to a computer glitch. Peter Coyle, the punter's solicitor, maintains Betfred has failed to verify any software problem.
Betfred is one of the largest sponsors of horse racing in the United Kingdom, with races spread across racecourses in the country, including the Midlands National run at Uttoxeter Racecourse, the Dante Stakes and Ebor Handicap both at York Racecourse, and the Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap on the Rowley Mile course at Newmarket Racecourse.
In 2005, Betfred became sponsors of the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. The race is run over the minimum distance of five furlongs. The sponsorship ended in 2016. Betfred also sponsored the most prestigious jumps race the Cheltenham Gold Cup between the years of 2012 and 2015.
In October 2016, Betfred began a three year period as the main sponsor of rugby league's Super League, the northern hemisphere's premier rugby league competition with twelve teams spread across England, and Catalans Dragons based in Perpignan, France.
Betfred sponsored the World Snooker Championships from 2009 to 2012, before losing the sponsorship rights. In 2015, it was announced that Betfred were to become the sponsors of the tournament once again, and increase the winner’s prize money to £375,000.
On 3 June 2011, Betfred won the auction to purchase the then Government owned Tote betting operation in a deal worth £265m. The counter bid was lodged by the SIP (Sports Investment Partners) consortium headed by former city banker and British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton. Betfred pledged £155m into racing over the next seven years, as well as creating the Tote Racing Development Board, giving greater say to industry figures.
In September 2016, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport "In terms of the Tote Racing Development Board, I can confirm that as a stand alone concept it has not been set up to date. Betfred has confirmed that Totepool work with race course owners and management on a continuing basis (which may serve the same purpose as the intended Tote racing development board)."
The deal gave Betfred exclusive control over the on-course betting system for seven years. Football manager and racehorse owner Sir Alex Ferguson had lent his support to Betfred's bid. In 2018, the exclusive license taken out by Betfred officially ran out.
- Pronounced to rhyme with "bone".
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