19 January 2006

Betfair, Australia… and technology?

Everyone who follows it is up to speed on betfair and their recent licensing in Australia. However, Betfair corporate and business affairs director Andrew Twaits has been paraphrased as saying that “the core function of the business was technology and the Technopark centre would not be a call centre, which was a common misconception.”

Next, factor in that the Economic Development Minister, Lara Giddings, was paraphrased as saying that the new Hobart betfair opreation “was expected to have 150 jobs at the end of two years and to employ 75 by the end of the first 12 months”.

Doesn’t that now beg the question as to what 75-150 technologists are going to be doing? Betfair already has at least 150 technologists (perhaps 1/3 of staff) working on their staff in London. I would have guessed that any regional offices/BU that betfair opened up would have been primarily a call and customer support center, with some bizdev and regional marketing thrown in.

A few possibilities:

  • Betfair is making misleading statements so that Australians can’t complain about the type of jobs that are being created (high tech, high paying technology versus lower paying call center)
  • Betfair is shifting some portion of their technology from London to Australia. Australia, particularly Hobart, offers significantly cheaper salaries and costs than London
  • The technology build up in Australia is purely a de-risking duplication and additional build-up of technology capability.
  • Australia provides a foothold into SE Asia - the technology team will be focused on building up Asia-focused versions of the product
  • Betfair made related commitments to the Tazmanian government, and is now verbally following through with them. Over the next year or so the commitment will wane unless one or more of the above is correct. Betfair will claim “changing market conditions” to pull back from their commitment.

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