BetFair employees believe that David Yu and the other top brass are a bunch of schmucks who are incapable of delivering leadership. – [NEWS]

Via a reader, The Guardian lists the execs who have recently fled BetFair HQ:

- Mathias Entenmann
– Charlie Palmer
– Robin Osmond
– Lee Cowles
– Tim Phillips
– Emily Foge
– Rob Glynne
– Alex Deacon
– Tony Rigby
– Don Fotsch.

And I add:

- Tony Clare
– Mark Davies
– Mike Robb.

BetFair trained a bunch of eagles and hawks for publicity at the 2010 Ryder Cup. – [PICTURES]

Thanks to Mike Robb, we have now access to those great, awesome pics. Enjoy. [You can right-click them and save the bigger pics on your hard drive.]

HOW THOSE PICS WERE TAKEN:

- An “-eight year-old Ferruginous Eagle called Olga and a family of Harris Hawks [] have been in-flight training for the past two weeks in the run up to The Ryder Cup”-.

- Bird handler Trevor Smith: “-The birds have been hand-reared and normally perform at shows or in films, but this is certainly one of their most unique jobs. The training has been good and the birds are raring to stretch their wings across Celtic Manor and take on a Tiger.”-

BetFair set a price range for its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange at $17.48 to $22.25 a share, valuing its equity at up to $2.35 billion.

“-The wide price range, for an equity value between ?1.16 billion and ?1.48 billion, reflects mixed views on the company’-s prospects for growth in countries with strict regulations on gambling, such as the U.S., and for its new financial-trading platform, LMAX.”-

Jason Trost on BetFair: They havent innovated much, and theyre too pricey.

Jason Trost:

  • Slow innovation: Aside from a few cosmetic tweaks, reliability improvements and the Starting Price feature, Betfair hasn’t innovated much over the last few years. For a company that boasts several hundred developers, it should be able to release more major new features. Betfair gets very little traffic from organic search and has no social features apart from a forum.
  • Outdated tech platform: Betfair’s website can be quite slow at times. If you look under the hood, there’s a tangled web of javascript libraries, iframes, caching servers and images. Over the years, it has grown into a technical server farm behemoth that is difficult to upgrade and maintain.
  • Tax on top traders: About a year ago Betfair introduced a “Premium Charge” on their most successful traders, taxing their profits up to 20%. This runs contrary to typical volume rebate schemes where the more one trades, the smaller the transaction costs one incurs. The company claims the tax is to offset the cost of bringing new punters to the platform, but appears to outsiders as a clear move to increase revenue taking advantage of Betfair’s position as a monopoly.
  • Expensive transaction costs: Betfair takes 5% of traders’ winnings. If a trader bets ?100 and wins ?1000, Betfair will charge ?50 for the transaction. This is very expensive in a world of $8 online stock executions. As betting exchanges become more financial in nature, these transaction costs will shrink substantially.
  • Market Size and Competition: As Greg Wood from the Guardian wrote recently, horse racing liquidity has hit a ceiling. Will Betfair be able to maintain the revenue growth? With high costs and a smaller profit margin than Paddy Power, Betfair has found itself in a bit of “grow or die” situation. It will need to find ways to entice more customers to join its platform and spend their betting dollars with them. Betfair is looking to new sports – particularly football – and overseas markets like the US, China and India as opportunities for growth.
  • Headcount: Betfair has a tech team close to 500 people. While there is strength in numbers at times, the most successful tech projects in history started with small, nimble teams. The more tech people involved on a product, the less agile a company can be. Adapting to changing tech trends can be a crucial ingredient to remaining competitive in today’s internet startup world.

A somehwat simplistic, but nonetheless interesting, article in which the predictive quality of the BetFair market is slagged off, because it upsets their traditional form book study methods (by implication, of course, if they are right, then everybody could/should/would just follow the late money an

Niall O’-Connor offers you this link for free.

It is now legal in the UK to lay down your own horses. – [Industry Jurisprudence]

- In the Harry Finlay case, the BHA appeal panel says that in its view, “-a clear distinction needs to be drawn between a lay bet placed as part of a corrupt practice or even conspiracy and a betting strategy which has not interfered in any way with the integrity of the race and in particular the running of the horse in question.”-

- More.

- Mark Davies’-s take.

All links thru Niall O’-Connor, who also alerts us about the future BetFair flotation.