Platform Competition: Betfair and the U.K. Market for Sports Betting

23 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018

Date Written: August 7, 2018


We examine two episodes of strategic interaction in the U.K. betting industry: (i) Betfair (an entrant multi-sided platform, or MSP) vs. Flutter (also an MSP), and (ii) Betfair vs. traditional bookmakers. We find that although Betfair was an underfunded second mover in the betting exchange space, it was able to attract punters at a much faster rate than the better-funded first mover, Flutter. Moreover, while Betfair and traditional bookmakers competed aggressively for market share, they also developed a highly complementary relationship that favored all parties. We discuss implications for research in the economics and management of MSPs. Specifically, we argue that the literature would benefit from work that endogenizes platform design and that considers the possible competitive and cooperative interactions between the business models of traditional incumbents and those of potential innovative MSP entrants.

Keywords: platform design, network effects, betting, complements, competing business models, co-opetition, entry

JEL Classification: D21, D43, L13, L83, L86

Suggested Citation

Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon and Campbell, Neil, Platform Competition: Betfair and the U.K. Market for Sports Betting (August 7, 2018). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 19-057, Available at SSRN: or

Ramon Casadesus-Masanell (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-496-0176 (Phone)
617-496-5859 (Fax)


Neil Campbell

Majestic Wine PLC ( email )

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