The rising popularity of live betting, or in-play betting as it is called at some betting sites, has been amply demonstrated in a trading update filed by WilliamHill.com in the London Stock Exchange. The betting site’s strong performance in 2010 was led by a growth of 114% in live betting turnover. The sports book turnover increased by 57% and the total online net revenue increased by 24%.
Neil Cooper, group finance director at WilliamHill.com, explained the possible reasons for this growth. He said that WilliamHill.com had continuously made advancements in its live betting platform. The second reason was the advertising during football on ITV and Sky, which had demonstrably led to more traction there.
Henry Birch, the chief executive, indicated that the live betting revenue was expected to double again in 2011. Internal product development and aggressive plans for the coming months should ensure the same rate of growth according to Birch. One of the key factors will be the incorporation of live betting horse racing in its portfolio. “In-play in horse-racing is something we’re pushing – we will have to wait and see how much punters adopt that,” said Birch.
Other than horse racing WilliamHill.com is looking to increase both depth and breadth with regards to live betting in general. Football is currently the largest live betting product at the betting site, with tennis at the second place. WilliamHill.com will be covering more matches and offering more markets within them in its live betting vertical. Birch also said that covering more sports was on the cards. With the possibility of American sports betting markets opening up there would be a greater movement towards American sports later this year.
Cooper explained that even after last year’s meteoric rise in live betting, it contributed to only 35% of online sports book revenue, with the balance 65% coming from pre-game wagering. He predicted that after the induction of live betting horse racing the contribution from the two formats should be around 50% each.
The performance in the other online betting verticals was comparatively lackluster. There was some growth in online bingo, but online casino betting revenues were flat. Cooper made no mention of online poker betting. The United Kingdom remained the dominant market for WilliamHill.com.