Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2008 (Revised September 2009)

Betfair vs. UK Bookmakers

by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and Neil Campbell

Abstract

Betting exchanges provide an electronic platform that allows ordinary consumers to not only back teams to win, but also to lay odds for other punters to back. This business model allows punters to cut out the middleman of the bookmaker and leads to a much more efficient two-sided market. Betfair.com's domination of the betting exchange has threatened to undermine the core of the traditional bookmakers' business model. The case examines two aspects of the industry: (1) What specific choices did Betfair make to become the dominant betting exchange, winning the competitive battle over Flutter.com? (2) At what stages do Betfair.com's business model and those of the bookmakers interact? Will Betfair.com naturally come to dominate the industry, and if so how should the bookmakers react?

Keywords: Business Model; Decision Choices and Conditions; Two-Sided Platforms; Market Transactions; Competition; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

Citation:

Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon, and Neil Campbell. "Betfair vs. UK Bookmakers." Harvard Business School Case 709-417, July 2008. (Revised September 2009.)