Betfair faces criticism for massive rise in charges

Betfair, the betting exchange which holds a dominant position in the market, has dismayed its customers and delighted its rivals by hiking charges for the most successful punters from around five per cent to 20 per cent.

The firm was quick to point out yesterday that the new "Premium" charges will affect fewer than 0.5 per cent of its customers, but the bombardment of the firm's online betting forum by punters reflected a more widespread anger at the rise.

The charges will affect the growing numbers for whom trading on betting exchange markets has become a full-time occupation, but those who aspire to that position are equally dismayed.

"Customers who traded with us today, some after an absence, were concerned that the next change might affect them," said Iain Turner of WBX, who along with Betdaq are the rivals most likely to benefit from the departure of customers from Betfair.

In particular, it is the highly active customers who provide liquidity by seeding the market who would be most missed by Betfair and greeted warmly by their rivals.

According to Betfair, "more than 98 per cent of winning customers would not have been charged" if the rate had been in place over the past year. It is to host a question and answer session on its forum tonight and can expect to come under fierce fire.

* Today's Warwick card has been called off due to waterlogging.