Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

In his latest status report, business-rescue practitioner John Evans says that Phumelela’s Betting World (Pty) Ltd has been sold for R120m. The buyer is UK-based betting firm Betfred.

Evans said the selling price for Betting World is still subject to final adjustment in respect of the net value of working capital items included in the balance sheet as at May 31 2021.

Betfred is owned by 78-year-old British billionaire Fred Done who established his business with a single betting shop in Salford, Lancashire, in 1967. It now has some 1,600 shops throughout the UK.

The company’s turnover grew substantially in recent years and was more than £10bn in 2018/2019. The R120m paid for Betting World can be described as small change.

Apart from its UK operation, Betfred has an online casino and betting product in Spain and, in its first foray into the US, has launched a sportsbook at Grand Falls Casino.

The arrival of Betfred in the SA market may not be good news for established bookmaking firms such as World Sports Betting and Hollywoodbets because Done will probably want to introduce a number of special offers to punters, a  common practice in the UK.

For example, all the big betting firms in the UK will be offering “specials” on Saturday’s Epsom Derby. Popular ways of luring punters is to offer “money back as a free bet if your horse runs second” or “we are betting six places each-way”.

The latest market on the Derby — previously sponsored by Investec but now backed by a company named Cazoo — sees Bolshoi Ballet shortening from 18-10 to 15-10 as a result of steady support for Aidan O’Brien’s runner.

Bolshoi Ballet, the likely mount of Ryan Moore, was one of six acceptors from O’Brien’s stable at Monday’s forfeit stage when 19 horses were left in the race. The sextet includes the second favourite, High Definition.

While most firms have drifted High Definition to 11-2 from 5-1, Ladbrokes do not share their view and quote the Dante Stakes third-placed runner  at 9-2. The price with Gauteng bookmaker Lance Michael is a generous 7-1.

Ladbrokes spokesperson Nicola McGeady said: “It seems the favourite is doing everything right in the run-up to the race, but many punters are keeping their faith in High Definition.”

As Ballydoyle’s number one jockey, Ryan Moore has his pick of the stable rides, but he has yet to disclose whether he will partner Bolshoi Ballet or High Definition. It’s a big decision with the winner’s purse £637,988 (almost R12.5m).

Trainer O’Brien said: “We don’t put Ryan under any pressure, but it will be hard for him to overlook Bolshoi Ballet. Nothing is set in stone until he makes that decision, but Ryan will have to make that call himself.”

Bookmakers will be hoping for another long-shot winner similar to Serpentine in 2020. Jockeys for some of the outsiders have been revealed with Silvestre De Sousa on Lone Eagle, James Doyle on One Ruler, Andrea Atzeni on Third Realm and Tom Marquand on Youth Spirit.

EPSOM DERBY BETTING

(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)

15-10 Bolshoi Ballet

7-1 High Definition

15-2 Mohaafeth

8-1 Mac Swiney

10-1 Hurricane Lane, John Lepper

14-1 Third Realm

25-1 Others

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