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You Bet: The Betfair Story and How Two Men Changed the World of Gambling [Hardcover]

Colin Cameron
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 April 2009
The fascinating tale of how one company spawned a huge international business success story, created legions of new gamblers and revolutionised the worlds of gambling and sport for ever. In 2000 a company called Betfair, founded by Andrew Black and Ed Wray, began trading. Since then, the brainchild of these two contrasting English innovators has meant the world of gambling, sport, the Internet, government attitudes to betting and public perceptions of what is behind a 'flutter' haven't been the same. Betfair is an Internet betting exchange, which pairs up via the web those who want to have a bet ('backers') with those who want to take one ('layers'), cutting out the traditional middleman, namely the bookmaker. The company's success - Betfair today is one of the world's ten biggest companies operating on the web - has fuelled exponential growth in Internet betting. What's more, the operation has revolutionised the way the globe gambles, forcing bookmakers to change, altered how sport deals with corruption based around betting and how governments worldwide treat betting, and caused shifts in cultural and social attitudes to betting generally. You Bet considers the Betfair story, a remarkable tale of how a simple idea tapped into the modern-day global psyche for betting and became a multi-billion dollar company. But much more than that, You Bet considers the worldwide impact, culturally and socially, of the explosion in Internet betting in which Betfair has been both an agent for change and a beneficiary of evolving attitudes to betting. This vibrant new book takes you to the heart of the colourful world of betting, features a range of characters with personality and opinions in proportion and offers unique analysis of why people gamble. The book is both an inspirational - and aspirational - tale of how the dream of two men became a reality.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (30 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007277016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007277018
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

James Willoughby, chief correspondent, Racing Post

The mark of the quality of writing in any book is the speed with which the reader can absorb the ideas. Suffice to say, I flew through the thing.

Oliver Holt, Daily Mirror

Colin Cameron's terrific new book

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Betfair is without doubt one of the biggest British business success stories of the last 10 years. When the mainstream media's idea of business coverage is the jumped up egotists on 'The Apprentice' it is refreshing to have a book that highlights the global success of a modern forward, thinking company.

In the past 8 years Betfair and its concept of allowing punters to back and lay with each other rather than via bookmakers has completely revolutionised an industry, reducing prices for punters, highlighting possible cheating and in the process thoroughly annoying the incumbent traditional bookmakers who had had it good for so long.

Colin Cameron's book on Betfair is extremely well researched. He has gained access not only to many senior figures within Betfair but also from throughout the gambling industry, both peers of Betfair and the bookmakers who they competed with. His book covers all aspects of the Betfair story, from the background of the founders, the hard work of the initial idea, the constant battle with the incumbent bookmakers right through the wider impacts of the concept and the changes the industry can expect in the future.

The book is well written and engaging. My only complaint would be that it isn't written in chronological order and thus jumps around slightly. This I would imagine would make the book a difficult read for someone who isn't already familiar with Betfair. Also, as someone who knows quite a bit about Betfair, I felt that a few (but not many) points were missed, such as the fact that regulation of people acting as bookmakers on Betfair is irrelevant since the company can guarantee that they will always pay out, or the importance digital odds played in allowing punters to trade out of positions at low gains thus generating more liquidity.

All in all, a great read though about one of the most innovative companies of recent years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible 26 Nov 2011
By Jakaka
I can only imagine that the author had enough story to fill a magazine article because most of this book is filler. And badly written filler at that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good 9 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Betfair has without doubt been the most exciting development in the world of gambling since - well probably since time began. So how does this book measure up?
The book's strengths are when the author interviews Betfair's founders, Andrew Black and Ed Wray. The reader gets a real flavour for the obstacles involved in getting such a simple but perfect idea up and running. Racing Post editor Bruce Millington and ex William Hill chief John Brown also provide insights -the latter still doesn't appear to 'get it' and remains convinced that only licensed bookmakers should be allowed to lay bets.
The book also reveals how close Betfair initially came to failing through lack of capital until its merger with chief market rival Flutter generated the necessary funds.
Of less interest to this reader was the lengthy account of Betfair's attempts to penetrate the key foreign markets, starting with Australia.
Horse racing in the UK is on the brink of a financial crisis and many feel that Betfair does not contribute enough to the UK racing industry.
You will need to look elsewhere for the pros and cons of this argument as the author neglects to include it - a serious omission IMHO.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dull. This author in certainly not Ben Mezrich 22 Dec 2013
I was wary of buying this book because the cover was dreadful but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt because, as they say, 'don't judge a book by its cover'. And it was only a couple of quid. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. The writer came over as a business article writer which he may be and good too but he just hasn't made the transition to a longer format. Gamblers are emotional people generally and there's not an ounce of emtion in this book, just dull blandness. To be honest though, I didn't read beyond the first few chapters as I was losing the will to live and gave up. That's a shame because the majority of my income for the last few years has been from Betfair and I thought it about time I knew the inside story. And that brings me to another point. The author doesn't seem to know his intended audience. No one, other than those who have quite a knowledge of the mechanics of Betfair are going to read this book. It's not, after all, an impulse buy at a railway station. Yet Cameron insists on explaining in words of two syllables how the system works. Dull and unnecessary. I'd advise the author read a few of Ben Mezrich's books to get a hang of how to do it. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable story 13 Feb 2011
An interesting and facinating story of how two men with a simple idea created and grew a business in a very competitive field to become a dominant force in the world of gambling. A must read for anybody interested in gambling or the business world.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable tale 13 May 2009
By EJNib86
I am not accustomed to betting, and am not particularly interested in the topic. At least, that was what I thought until I read this utterly absorbing and engaging account of that world. I have read other sporting books written by Colin Cameron and he manages to make each topic about which he writes come to life with his descriptions of the quirky and driven characters who inhabit the particular world, whether it be soccer, horse racing or now gaming. This is a book which will fascinate you, appall you and make you laugh out loud in equal measure. But more than that it will move you to get off your backside and follow your dreams.If you do so, maybe like the protagonists in this beautifully reserached book, they will come true after all. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Subject - Poorly Written
The title and the caption hooked me in but as I read on, the writing style was so bad that I skipped pages to get to the most interesting bits about how the concept was formed and... Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2011 by Nadeem
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Lacking In Balance - Reads Like A Betfair Press...
The author is apparently an experienced journalist, but from the very beginning I was shocked by the appalling use of punctuation, or should I say lack of it. Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2009 by Lord Buckles
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, shame about the writing
I'm wondering if I read the same book as the other reviewers?

This has to be one of the most badly written business books I have ever read. Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2009
3.0 out of 5 stars Mint condition but poor read
Repetitive in the beginning, but picks up towards part 2.
another book should be written on Betfair maybe a couple of years from now for better "hindsight"
Published on 6 Sep 2009 by NuJ
1.0 out of 5 stars You Bet - Best Not!
Yawn! What a boring book, I gave up after 3 chapters due to the author constantly referring to the chance meeting of the co-founders... Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2009 by D. Raybould
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of paper
Whats the point of this book ? It drones on and on in the most tedious of detail, discussing spread betting and why Bookies offer unfair prices on horses and general betting. Read more
Published on 17 May 2009 by J. Creighton
5.0 out of 5 stars Knows his onions
This guy really does know his onions - he knows his sport, especially his racing, and he knows the world of gambling. Read more
Published on 15 May 2009 by Village Reader
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