January 13, 2010

UK cold snap hits racing bets

Bookmakers with major racing markets including Betfair, Coral and Ladbrokes have been hit hard by Britain’s cold snap, the December figures from top odds comparison site Oddschecker reveal, with the weather having caused a wave of racing abandonments.

The data from the site, which boast more than 600,000 unique users a month, has been seen exclusively by EGRmagazine.com, and shows racing cancellations having diminished Betfair’s strong lead in referrals from the site over Bet365 and having allowed SkyBet to overtake Coral.

The abandonments also saw Ladbrokes lose the ground it won on Oddschecker in November, when its traditional strength in horseracing saw it overtake Stan James and arch rival William Hill.

Oddschecker commercial manager Simon Miller said: “The gap at the top has shrunk to its smallest ever level. Bet365 kept its market share static but Betfair saw its share slide by 1.2% and now only stand 0.4% ahead of Bet365. Betfair always perform strongly in months full of racing but with abandonments around, especially on Boxing Day, this blunted Betfair’s strongest weapon and saw it fall back.

“On the flip side, Skybet used this opportunity to jump above Coral for the first time since June. Relatively weak in racing without Best Odds Guaranteed, Skybet weren’t harmed as much as the others and its strength in football saw its market share rally. As abandonments continue into January, it will be interesting to see which bookmakers have come out on top in testing times.”

With the cold weather intensifying this month and with a new cold snap hitting Wales, south east and south west England only last night, the impact on racing-heavy bookmakers is likely to be even greater in January.

Miller added: “Attracting racing customers in January has been more competitive than ever, but bookmakers who are competitive on markets such as specials, darts and golf could see their market share on Oddschecker increase.”

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