When something lasts for half a century, it’s definitely worth a call of celebration. One of the biggest betting operators in the UK, BetFred, is celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year, making it not only one of the biggest gambling organisations in the country but also one of the oldest. Others have survived a long time too, but how on earth has BetFred kept its success going with no sign of stopping in 2017? Well, in an interview with CalvinAyre.com, Fred Done who founded BetFred shares a few secrets to the success of his company.
History of BetFred
BetFred has extremely humble beginnings. In fact, you could argue that it began well before the first shop was open in Ordsall, Salford, 1967. In the interview, Fred Done confessed his father was operating a betting shop long before gambling became legal in the UK.
This explains why he went down the route of gambling — it was a proven success with his father’s betting shop (even though it was illegal at the time) and the introduction of gambling into British society proved an excellent money-making opportunity.
But the path to a successful enterprise was not a smooth one, Fred Done confided. Every day he was faced with challenges that only a serious entrepreneur would face but each time he and his business partners always rose to the occasion. The secret? According to Fred, you have to look after your people and be trustworthy. He added: “if you look out to people, they’ll look after you.”
Of course, having worked as part of an illegal bookmaker when he was fifteen probably helped a lot too. You tend to learn a few tricks of the trade in sportsbetting when you’ve been around it long enough. And Done claims exactly that. Six years after sportsbetting was legalised in the UK, he established BetFred and the business has gone from success to success ever since.
Always a Sportsbetter
During the interview, Fred Done claims that he now owns around sixteen different businesses, all presumably in different industries. He says he was born to be an entrepreneur but his heart will always be with sportsbetting. Of course, BetFred has since expanded to include other kinds of betting besides sports including slots, bingo and live casino games. But it will always be known for being a bookmakers even fifty years after it first began.
“We are now trading 17,000 bets,” Done explained. He went onto to add that BetFred employs up to 11,000 people in the major UK betting shops and that the turnover for the whole business is so large that he can’t even remember what it is these days, though he reassures us that it’s likely to be “billions and billions.”
That isn’t to say BetFred still doesn’t face challenges. At this moment in time, the company has to consider the possibility of opening up the horse bettering industry to other players (and by that, we mean competition not people who make bets). As it currently stands, BetFred dominates the horse tote betting market with its exclusivity but this seems like it may change.
But this brings us round to another secret to BetFred’s success. Done advises that it would be unwise for any business to underestimate their competition. Sometimes, it is better to work with them rather than against them. This can be seen through many huge gambling organisations agreeing on mergers that would make both companies involved infinitely more profitable. Though, it appears Done does like a challenge too. “If you want to take me on, I’m going to let them take me on. Let the best one win.”
Nevertheless, Done remains confident that BetFred will continue to thrive in the foreseeable future. He is currently looking into other sectors of the market to help expand the business. And the last secret he shares on why BetFred is as successful as it is is because the managers are their own people and get to make all the key decisions. Basically, there are no power struggles and no one after their own agenda which has led to a highly cooperative and profitable venture. If BetFred continue down this path, they may just last another fifty years more.