ONLINE bookmaker Betfair yesterday said Euro 2012 was on course to attract record levels of trade for a single event after punters bet more than £1bn on the football championship.
Betfair, whose exchange allows punters to set their own odds against one another, said £183m was matched on England, helped by former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp giving tips to the customers in his role as brand ambassador.
The company’s other ambassadors include former Yorkshire and England cricket captain Michael Vaughan.
Betfair said the Euros, as well as record numbers of bets on Black Caviar at Royal Ascot, helped boost core revenues by 18 per cent in the past eight weeks.
The group toasted a 17 per cent hike in underlying profits to £85.7m in the year to April 30, helped by record volumes of bets on most major sporting fixtures, including last year’s Champions League final, the Cheltenham Festival, and last year’s Wimbledon.
The high levels of betting on the Euros means the event is set to become its biggest ever in terms of the amount of money gambled.
The figures come after rival Ladbrokes revealed that its digital arm failed to get the normal patriotic boost from people betting on England.
Betfair also enjoyed its best ever Australian Open Tennis Championship during its final quarter, with almost £50m of bets being placed on the longest final in history between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
And some £50m was staked on the Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea.
Interim chief executive Stephen Morana said: “Betfair has achieved many new highs, with records set in most of the major sporting events including the Champions League final, Cheltenham festival, Wimbledon, US Masters and Indian Premier League.”
The number of bets staked on mobiles more than doubled to 44 million, with nearly half of customers in the UK and Ireland placing bets on the move in April.
Shares rose yesterday. Numis analyst Ivor Jones said current trading “should reassure investors that the business is on track”.
He added: “We believe Betfair is well-positioned for an excellent full-year.”