GAMBLING tycoons Fred and Peter Done have invested millions in a new online gaming marketing firm in an effort to compete with billionaire Israeli software magnate, Teddy Sagi.
The brothers, who founded the 874-strong chain of bookmakers Betfred, backed Active Win Media founded by Glaswegian Warren Jacobs.
Jacobs expects to grow the Manchester-based business to employ a team of 50 within the next ten months.
The company will run an affiliate marketing agency on behalf of Betfred.com and will also handle other clients in online betting and other digital sectors.
Jacobs expects to go head-to-head with Euro Partners, the Tel Aviv-based marketing agency that was acquired by listed gaming giant, Playtech, in 2011.
The deal was unusual – and controversial – as the agency, whose holding company is known as PT Turnkey Services, was founded by Sagi and acquired by Playtech for £240 million, which was also founded by the Israeli and in which he still holds a 49.5 per cent stake.
The Glaswegian has recently relocated to the UK from Tel Aviv where he was “one of the original team” behind Euro Partners. Prior to this, the entrepreneur spent three years with Israeli army special forces.
Jacobs said growth in the online gaming sector has been driven by “aggressive” online and affiliate marketing companies, largely based in Tel Aviv, which he expects to replicate in Manchester.
Jacobs said: “The key to online success and rapid growth for any online business is to drive new traffic and customers to your business at as low a cost as possible and to use a blend of specialist techniques backed up by minute to minute evaluation and assessment of results. The gaming industry thrives on this science and numbers-based approach and at Active Win Media we already have the tools, the databases, the traffic and the people to replicate this model.”
Betfred, which was established by the Done brothers as a single shop in Salford in 1967, reported a turnover of £4.8 billion in the year to the end of 25 March 2012, up from £4.1bn the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £16.6m.
Chris Sheffield, managing director of Betfred.com said: “Mobile in particular is highly specialised but growing very quickly and already accounts for over 50 per cent of Betfred.com profit.
“Active Win Media are already making a huge impact after only four weeks driving thousands of new customers to our website and mobile apps and I am certain other customers in the gaming space and other sectors such as e-commerce, travel, finance and distance shopping will benefit from these services.”