Punters cut out the bookie in cyberspace


Internet backers are now going head-to-head in the quest for better value.

Internet backers are now going head-to-head in the quest for better value.

Internet punters now have the chance to eliminate the bookmaker and reap the benefits of betting between themselves. It could be the end of the bookmaking industry as we know it.

There have been a proliferation of internet bookmakers springing up in recent years, luring punters with promises of low or no-tax betting, free bets and other spurious offers.

Flutter.com, however, offers something completely different. At this web site, punters can bet between themselves, offering and taking prices from each other, while Flutter.com takes 2.5 per cent commission on the return from each transaction from the winner.

Flutter.com is the brainchild of Vince Monical and Josh Hannah, its founders and co-Presidents, two Americans who began betting with each other socially and became so hooked on person-to-person betting they decided it had e-commerce potential.

Hannah, 29, and Monical, 30, are an intellectually formidable pairing with plenty of good old fashioned American "drive" to boot.

Hannah and Monical ransacked their connections to raise $39m (£25m) from financial institutions before boldly upping sticks to move to the United Kingdom, where they obtained a full UK bookmaker's licence and registered their company.

Founded in February, 1999 and launched on Grand National day this year, Flutter.com has failed thus far to make a significant impact upon the UK's gambling consciousness, but the potential it offers for punters is considerable.

Betting-shop punters must contend not only with nine per cent tax, but the bookmakers' overround, which is about two per cent per runner and therefore averages around 20 per cent.

Flutter.com punters, however, providing they play the game and offer each other odds with no built-in profit margin other than that required to offset Flutter.com's commission, can create a more competitive environment.

Supply and demand is god and, at present, Flutter suffers from an insufficient volume of customers to create a competitive market. Moreover, the inalienable mathematical truth of levying a commission on total stakes is that anyone wanting to act as a bookmaker is forced to operate with an overround of said commission (in this case 2.5 per cent) per runner minus one - the winning punter pays the commission on the winner - in order to break even.

However, Flutter.com acknowledges the arithmetic flaws in their set-up and will restrict their commission to just winnings at odds of 3-1 or above from mid-November. When they do, opportunities for would-be layers and punters at their web site will be much improved.

At present, the site attracts a depressing number of two-bit time wasters. There is nothing wrong with only being prepared to lay a bet to lose a few pounds - everyone must cut their cloth according to their pocket - but the character who was offering 4-7 ante-post about the 10-1 chance Tryphaena for the Cesarewitch makes a better case for the return of the death penalty than any Tory MP can ever hope to do.

Flutter-com clearly have some work to do, in terms of educating their clients to use the site to offer greater value for all, rather than try and take each other for a ride, before the idea moves towards realising its full potential.

The site has a very "tabloid" feel at present, which might discourage the serious punter. And some of the notions the people at Flutter.com have about their site seem a trifle fanciful: the assertion of Aideen Shortt, their Brand manager, for instance, that person-to-person betting at their site is creating a community spirit. A punter to whom £100 has just been lost can be called many things, but "friend" is not the epithet that most readily springs to mind.

But see past the "what colour hair will tomorrow's Page 3 girl have?" offers and imagine a world with no bookies and more punters making the game pay than ever before. Heaven on earth.

 

www.flutter.com" target="new" class="boldtext-link">www.flutter.com

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin