|Headquarters||Birchwood, Warrington, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom|
|Fred Done, founder and chairman|
Betfred is a bookmaker based in the United Kingdom, founded by Fred Done.[note 1] It was first established as a single betting shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967. Its turnover in 2004 was reported to be more than £3.5 billion, having risen from £550 million in 2003 and has continued to grow to over £10 billion in 2018-2019. 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 Done financed the first Done Bookmakers shop with capital made from a winning bet he 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. A mixture of organic and acquisition growth has resulted in Betfred being the largest independent retail bookmaker in the UK.
By 2000, the total number of shops nationwide had risen to two hundred, 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 F.C. 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 José Mourinho.[failed verification]
It was widely reported in April 2010 that Fred Done formed part of the "Red Knights" consortium that were looking to buy English Premier League club Manchester United from the Glazer Family. The reports proved to be incorrect, but Done remained a season ticket holder at Old Trafford.
As of July 2017, Betfred operated over 1,650 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 fifty one 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 50th year of business. A documentary film about the history of the company was released on the official channel of Betfred on YouTube. 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, punter David Smith took Betfred to court after he claimed to have won a jackpot of £212,000, having mistakenly written "Bailarico", a losing horse, on the betting slip, rather than "Bialco", a winner. The betting arbitrator IBAS ruled against him.
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 top-level professional rugby league with ten teams spread across England, and one in France. In October 2021, Betfred resigned an agreement with the rugby Super League Europe
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.
Betfred was the official betting partner of Manchester United from 2006 to 2013. This partnership was renewed ahead of the 2022/2023 football season
In May 2016, it was announced that Betfred would take over sponsorship of the Scottish League Cup for three years, rebranding it the Betfred Cup. In June 2017, Betfred was confirmed as the new official shirt sponsors of Championship side Bolton Wanderers, in an agreement which will initially last for two years.
In July 2019, Betfred announced that it had been installed as the official sponsor for the PDC's World Matchplay tournament until 2022. Betfred announced before the 2022 event that they had renewed the sponsorship deal, which will see them become sponsors of the tournament until 2025.
Sponsorships in the USA
Betfredsports.com, Betfred's digital and retail presence in the USA, has official partnerships with NFL teams, the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals, whilst they are partners of the Colorado Rockies of the MLB and Loudoun United FC of the USL Championship, which includes a jersey sponsorship.
On 3 June 2011, Betfred won the auction to purchase The Tote, the government-owned 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. In 2018, the exclusive licence taken out by Betfred officially ran out.
This was in response to Betfred's failure to adhere to its anti money laundering and social responsibility policies. The Gambling Commission's investigation followed a court case that resulted in one customer of Betfred being jailed for three years and four months, after admitting to stealing from his employer. A significant proportion of the stolen money was spent with Betfred.
In April 2019 the Commission ordered Betfred and Paddy Power to terminate new betting products. This followed the introduction of reduced maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTS) from £100 to £2. The Commission was "concerned that the new products undermine the changes made".
The Guardian accused the companies of trying to circumvent the government's enforced FOBTs £2 reduction, with their new games. Betfred's "Virtual Cycling" product offered customers the chance to wager up to £500 per stake. Both Paddy Power and Betfred withdrew their games. The Gambling Commission said it was investigating the matter and that both bookmakers could "still face regulatory action", as it investigated "key senior staff at bookmakers who are responsible for bringing those products to market".
In October 2019 the Commission ordered Petfre, Betfred's parent, to pay £322,000 for money laundering failures.
An investigation revealed the operator had failed to carry out adequate "source of funds" checks on a customer who deposited £210,000, and lost £140,000, of stolen money over one twelve-day period in November 2017. The Commission said that one customer who was able to deposit and lose such significant amounts in such a short period of time clearly indicated failings in the effectiveness of Petfre's anti money laundering policies and procedures.
In April 2021, Betfred lost a High Court case against Andrew Green from Lincolnshire who had won £1.7 million in a Jackpot Game. Betfred had denied payments due to faulty software but High Court ruled against Betfred.
The company are the brand owners of Thesportsman.com (The Sportsman Communications Limited), an online sports news and broadcaster established in 2017. Betfred chairman, Fred Done is a major shareholder of The Sportsman Communications Limited. Starting as a sport news website, the company stepped forward into live sport broadcasting when it signed a deal with the Rugby Football League to show a number of matches from the 2021 Challenge Cup. This was followed with a 2022 deal to show rugby league games from the Challenge Cup, League 1, the Women's Super League and Wheelchair rugby league.
Notes and references
- Pronounced to rhyme with "bone".
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- Keegan, Mike (3 April 2012). "He Thinks It's All Over Betfred Pays". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- Murrells, Katy (3 April 2012). "He thinks it's all over: bookie pays out on Manchester United title win". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
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- Forrest, Adam (23 November 2018). "Punter suing Betfred for refusing to pay out £212,000 after he spent thousands celebrating in pub]". The Independent.
- Cook, Chris (25 October 2019). "Talking Horses: punter 'gutted' as £189,000 case turned down at hearing". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- Developer, Pixl8. "Betfred loses sponsorships - News". www.roa.co.uk. Homepage Racehorse Owners Association (ROA). Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
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- "Betfred". www.manutd.com. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
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- Holliday, Paul (12 June 2017). "Bolton Wanderers announce Betfred as official shirt sponsor". Bolton Wanderers FC. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
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- Lynch, Matt (17 July 2020). "Betfred extends contract as title sponsor of PDC Betfred World MatchPlay". Matchroom. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
- "Denver Broncos and Betfred USA Sports announce multi-year partnership ahead of Betfred launching a Colorado presence". www.denverbroncos.com. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
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- "Colorado Rockies and Betfred Sports Sign Multi-Year Marketing Agreement". MLB.com. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
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- Blackburn, Andy (3 June 2011). "The Tote sold to Betfred for £265M". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
- "Betfred buys the Tote". iGaming Business. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
- "Betfred offers Tote advisory role to racing industry". Manchester Evening News. 22 May 2011. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
- Barber, Bill. "Boost to new pool betting operation after 54 courses commit". Racing Post. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- "Betfred to pay over £800,000 following licence review". UK Gambling Commission. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
- Davies, Rob (14 June 2016). "Gambling Commission orders Betfred to pay £800,000". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
- "Following a warning from the regulator two major high street bookmakers have removed products". UK Gambling Commission. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
- Davies, Rob (1 April 2019). "Bookmakers accused of bypassing FOBT rules with roulette-style games". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- "Petfre to pay £322,000 for money laundering failures". UK Gambling Commission. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- "High Court rules against Betfred in infected Jackpot Battle - GiM". 9 April 2021.
- "THE SPORTSMAN COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED people - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Companies House. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
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