Betfair sees 120% increase in mobile customers

The online gambling firm increased sales via mobile applications by 88% as customer mobile use grows.

Gambling firm Betfair has increased sales via mobile applications by 88% across its 2011 financial year.

The company said major events such as the Cheltenham Festival in horse racing and football and cricket World Cups helped grow the number of customers using mobile platforms by 122% year-on-year.

"Over £1bn worth of bets were placed on via our mobile products in fiscal year 2011. Those figures are really encouraging and are spurring us on to keep on innovating in this space," said Raj Vemulapalli, Betfair's vice president of mobile engineering.

Vemulapalli says developing mobile products is key priority of the business.

"Mobile is unquestionably being recognised as an important channel by both IT and business leaders. CIOs and technology leaders have a significant impact on businesses - particularly at Betfair, where innovation and technology is at the core of our business," he said.

"Irrespective of the departments, leaders across cross-disciplines do view mobile as the next growth engine for their businesses and are aligning themselves to achieve their strategy."

Betfair has developed various mobile applications using its in-house mobile development team. The portfolio includes an Apple iPhone and iPad app, Google Android app and an HTML5 mobile web app to allow customers to place bets on any device.

The company had to use geo-location technology to meet various country regulations.

"Our commitment to regulatory compliance means we've built our apps using geo-location technology to ensure that they are only accessed in jurisdictions where we are allowed to operate," said Vemulapalli, a former head of engineering for real-time communications at Yahoo.

In addition to in-house developed apps, Betfair has built an open platform API to allow third-party developers to build new mobile products for its Betfair Exchange customers. Mobile developers receive 5% of sales as part of a revenue-share deal launched in March 2011.

Vemulapalli said the decision was made to encourage innovation: "We want our customers to have the best mobile betting experience and with that in mind we recently launched a brand new revenue-share deal for third-party mobile developers."

In March 2011, Betfair moved its datacentre operations to Ireland to improve efficiency and customer service levels. The company is currently expanding and recruiting for its mobile technology centre of excellence in San Francisco.

Rival Paddy Power reported in May 2011 that the number of active users across its UK and Irish online businesses increased 34% via mobile phones throughout 2010.

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