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Andrew Black punter who revolutionised gambling – MoneyWeek

Akeengambler,Blackdreamedofanonlinebettingexchangethatwouldallowtwopunterstobetdirectlyagainstoneanother。

Onewouldofferawager,andtheotherwouldacceptit。

Thatwaygamblerscouldsettheirownodds,andcutoutanymiddleman,suchasahigh-streetbookie。

Afterknockingthebarebonesofittogetheronacomputer,EdWray,aCitybankerandfellowbridgeplayer,agreedtogo50-50withhimonthebusiness。

InJune2000,itlaunchedfromapokylittleofficeinRussellSquare。

The£1mneededwascobbledtogetherfromfamilyandfriendsafterventurecapitalistsrefusedtobackthem。

Someniftymarketingfollowed,includingaprocessionthroughtheCitywithcoffinssayingdeathofthebookmaker。

ThatgotBlackontothefrontoftheTimesBusinessSection。

Butitwasfendingoffcompetition,ratherthangeneratingpublicity,thatprovedthebiggerobstacle。

Sixweeksbeforelaunch,arivalwebsite,Flutter,poppedup。

IttriedtocopytheauctionsiteEbay。

Sosomeoneofferingoddsonabetof,say,£10,wouldsimplybematchedupwithsomeoneelsewhowantedtoacceptabetof£10。

Butthislimitedbetsizesandtheoddsonoffer。

Betfairontheotherhandcouldhandlesaya£1,000betfromonepunterbymatchingitwithtencounter-betsfromotherpuntersallpreparedtowager£100each。

AyearafterlaunchBetfairtookoutitsrivalbybuyingit。

Betfairsoongrabbedover90%ofthemarket,despitehavinglimitedmoneytospendonmarketing,aswordspreadofitsmoreflexiblemodel。

Taking5%oftheprofitsoneverywinningbet,thecompanyturnedover£1mafteryearone,andby2005wasmakingprofitsof£12monaturnoverof£66m。

Withan11%shareofthebusiness,Black–nowworth£185m–willneverworryaboutmoneyagain。

However,heacceptsthatsomemaydisappearonhisnewstudfarmventureforflatracing。

IneverdidBetfairforthemoneyortogetrich。

Ididittodoit。

Mygrandfatheralwaystoldmetogoforthandconqueranddosomethingamazingwithmylife。

Blacksassaultonthegamblingindustryshowsitwasprettysoundadvice。

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