How did you end up working at betfair?
I met a guy in the pub watching the world cup match between Sweden and England in Westminster almost 5 years ago. He told me about betfair and its concept, and I thought it would be a good idea to get in contact and see what it was all about. Later I was interviewed and started working at the company
So presumably you had a background appropriate to working here?
Certainly. I was a professional punter and a bookmaker back in South Africa. I was not actively looking for anything in the UK at the time, but the concept did appeal to me and I thought it was quite exciting. It was totally different to anything professional that I€™d ever done before. I was fortunate that I was born in London so I didn€™t have any visa problems or passport problems, so coming over to the UK just seemed a natural move, and it was a gamble for me as it was.
Do you enjoy living in the UK?
Absolutely, I love living in the UK.I have no plans on returning to South Africa whatsoever, although it is a beautiful destination of course for a holiday.
How is it different to South Africa?
Well I€™m from Cape Town and Cape Town is traditionally exceptionally slow moving. London has a definite certain vibe and pace to it, probably much the same as Betfair and the way its moved over the last 5 years, and that has a certain amount of appeal. I think that it€™s incredibly accessible to Europe and the rest of the world for travel, and South Africa is incredibly remote.
Obviously you deal with a lot of high rollers. What are the characteristics of a winning gambler?
The characteristics of a winning gambler€¦ I would say the main attribute is total professionalism. Those that are successful approach it in a very professional way. We don€™t have any successful gamblers who take it purely recreationally. They have different styles and mechanisms and different approaches to how they make money, but essentially it€™s down to pure discipline.
So there is a converse of that I guess which is what is the main characteristic of a losing gambler?
Well it€™s definitely the inverse i.e. someone who isn€™t disciplined, who potentially doesn€™t focus on their particular strategy, or doesn€™t focus on their particular means in the market, doesn€™t focus on what they€™re potentially good at or know and doesn€™t have the discipline to stick to it.
What do you enjoy most about working for betfair?
What I enjoy most about working at betfair would be the people. It€™s an incredibly motivating company. I think it€™s easy to be self motivated at betfair because there€™s such eagerness. When you walk around the office you get the feeling that everybody is working and everybody is doing it passionately, and that€™s exciting.
You say you used to be a big punter, do you still bet much?
I am one of those recreational punters now who does not bet much. I bet with what I can afford to lose and I assume I probably will lose.
Ned and George