What Cheltenham means for bookmakers

Monday, Mar 14, 2016 09:49

The recent merger of Paddy Power and Betfair took place just weeks before one of the most profitable events in sports betting begins. Today, the Cheltenham Festival kicks off, and with it, many of the big brands will try to sideline each other, to get maximum brand exposure, and subsequently generate more revenue.

For that reason, the two brands will hold off until after the event, and possibly the April’s Grand National, and Football Euro’s, before overhauling their sportsbook. Analysts have confirmed that the lack of ‘new plans’ for Paddy Power Betfair was to be expected, as the Cheltenham Festival is at times so busy, that the primary goal is for the company is to ensure that increased traffic does not lead to the sites crashing.

This is a concern for all online sportsbooks, including BetVictor. The company has, however, secured a three-year fixed deal to affix its name to the Gold Cup in November and should see an increase in online traffic as a result of this major Cheltenham brand booster deal. Gibraltar-based BetVictor managed to sideline Paddy Power, who had sponsored the cup since 2003.

Furthermore, BetVictor has secured a deal with Channel 4 to provide television coverage. The company will also take over the betting shop at Sovereign Bay in Cheltenham’s main grandstand from Ladbrokes. This development comes as a result of Ladbrokes announcing it would not run the shop, in light of losing out on the sponsorship of the World Hurdle to Ryanair.

As per usual, Paddy Power scores high points in regard to its Twitter presence. Reports suggest that the betting industry can expect a pay-out in the tens of millions, as Cheltenham fans flock to the shops to bet on Min, Douvan, Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag, all trained by Willie Mullins.

Some commentators go as far as to suggest, if Irish trainer Willie Mullins has a ‘good’ Cheltenham, it will be a ‘bad’ Cheltenham for all bookmakers.