Fred Done bets high on sports wagering business

Fred Done bets high in sports wagering business

In this interview with’s Becky Liggero, Fred Done of BetFred shares the secret to his company’s success for over 50 years.

BetFred, which began life as a single shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967, is now one of the United Kingdom’s formidable bookmakers.

But the road to success didn’t come as easy as it seemed, according to one of BetFred’s founders, Fred Done. In doing his everyday business, Done has kept this simple rule – to look after his people and be trustworthy.

I am totally trustworthy and always deliver on my word. Never cheat, if you look out to people, they’ll look after you,” Done told

Before venturing into the sports betting business, Done recalled that he worked as an illegal bookmaker when he was 15-years-old. It was during that time when he learned the tricks of the trade.

Done said he applied the things he learned from his work when he established BetFred six years after sports betting became legal in the UK. Fast forward to the future, BetFred has grown into a multi-billion business with over a thousand shops.

“This is our 50th year in business, we started in 1967. As a 15-year-old kid, when the business is still illegal, I was involved in the game then, I was in an illegal bookmaker. I learned the trade from him, I sat as a 13-year-old. When it became legal in 1961, we started our first shop in 1967 and we bought our last shop before Christmas,” Done recalled. “We are now trading 17000 bets. Betting shops in United Kingdom has employed 11,000 people. God only knows what the turnovers are these days. We are talking about billions and billions. I’m really excited and I love the industry.”

At present, Done said that the company is facing several business challenges including the possibility of opening the horse betting industry to other players. Betfred has exclusivity at the moment with the horse tote betting industry.

Done, however, remains optimistic that BetFred will thrive in the coming years as it looks as other markets to expand their business.

“I believe that we will get opposition from some other race courses. If it happens then it happens. But they’ll be my competition, and I’m not afraid of any competition.  If you want to take me on, I’m going to let them take me on. Let the best one win,” Done said. “The gambling business is my first love. I could go on and on and on about business because you could see the enthusiasm comes out. Our online business, I expect it to double turnover in the next two years, so that’s not bad growth. The betting shops were the only company in the UK who is growing. Where everybody is in the minus situation, BetFred is still performing, we are still growing. And why? I think the difference is we are our own managers. We drive our own business.”