Benham’s SmartOdds on the up

Benham’s SmartOdds on the up

Friday, February 9, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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Scott Longley details firms rise

Provider of statistics-based betting advice, SmartOdds, has seen revenues rise 6 percent in the year to March 2017, according to the company’s annual results statement posted with UK Companies House, writes Scott Longley.

The London-based company is a leading example of the new breed of sports modelling providers, which works with professional gambling clients to provide odds research services.

Revenue for the 2017 financial year hit £12m with EBITDA rising 9 percent to £1.5m, with revenue from clients based in the UK declining slightly to £8.6m from £9m, and overseas revenue rising to £3.5m from £2.3m.

SmartOdds is the sister company of Ireland-based Matchbook, and both companies share a common owner in Matthew Benham, himself a professional gambler, and the owner of English Championship side Brentford and majority owner of Danish Superliga side Midtjylland FC.

According to the notes accompanying the results, Matthew Benham himself was likely one of the largest clients with fees charged to him totalling over £800,000.

Both Brentford and Midtjylland are also clients of SmartOdds along with a handful of other companies controlled by Benham.

The company, who employs over 100 staff, said in its annual report that it had an active pipeline of software and mathematical modelling developments, which it hoped would continue to give its clients an edge in the betting markets.

On its website SmartOdds says it provides comprehensive previews and reviews for games in each league, involving team news and in-depth analysis of how games were played.

In addition it also provides pre-season and mid-season reports on each individual team and also gives them up-to- date information and detailed live analysis of games.

Paul Leyland, analyst at gambling industry consultancy Regulus Partners, said the success of SmartOdds in recent years demonstrates that the ability of professional gamblers to continue to operate successfully within an online environment is “clearly still sound.”

He added that it shows that direct access to maths-based analysis and trading services has become “at least as important a part of the (very) heavy-user value chain as more vanilla editorial and odds comparison capabilities.”

Partly this is down to the increasing importance of data analytical utilisation within the sports-betting environment, both on the part of gamblers at all levels and the bookmakers.

“The skills needed to be a successful bookmaker and/or gambler are becoming increasingly maths and data-led versus the old stalwarts of opinion and knowledge,” says Leyland.

“These trends have been in place for some time, but they continue in part to explain the relative success (or otherwise) of a number of operators, gambling media businesses and other stakeholders.”

A rival to SmartOdds is Starlizard which is similarly owned by a professional gambler, Tony Bloom, previously the owner of mid-2000s betting operator Premier Bet and now the owner of English Premier League football club Brighton & Hove Albion.

According to Starlizard’s most recent results, also posted with Companies House, in the year to June 2016 the company achieved revenues of £17m, up 15 percent on the year previous.

The company says it has taken the understanding of football into a “completely different league.” It also promotes itself as a data analytics and technology-driven offering.

As with Benham and SmartOdds, Bloom would appear to be the major client of Starlizard. In the 2016 annual results, the company says in its preamble it hoped to “reduce the risk of reliance on a particular client.”

A further company working in the area of data analysis with regard to sports-betting advice is Stratagem which has built an AI-based system to help it, in its own words, “revolutionise” sports-betting trading.

The company suggests it can generate “uncorrelated returns” in the Space between finance and sport.”


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