Bookmaker Dean Shannon launches new online bookie Neds

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Neds.com.au - It's Time To Bet. Founder Dean Shannon

Renowned bookmaker Dean Shannon is set to embark on a $10 million advertising blitz at the peak of the horseracing spring carnival in October to launch his new online lottery and gambling business, Neds.

The Brisbane-based business is currently awaiting regulatory approvals in Australia, but also has global intentions with a planned launch in Britain in the first half of 2018 and other countries afterwards.

Neds could have racing and sports betting services and is planning to offer bespoke sports lottery products, which would be different to the wagering on lottery results services offered by the likes of Lottoland and Crownbet.

The Neds.com website is currently advertising for staff and features the slogan “Lotto like never before” on its front page.

Mr Shannon, the former chief executive of Ladbrokes‘ Australian business and founder of bookmaker.com.au, is considered to be one of the foremost internet betting experts in the country.

One rival bookmaker said he was skilful at keeping a tight rein on costs, including the cost of acquiring customers, keeping punters engaged and active on his websites, and very good at online marketing.

Neds is understood to be building its technology platform using Goland, the computer programming language first developed at Google in 2007 for its ability to deal with high volumes of queries and transactions.

He left Ladbrokes in February after a stint as the head of its Australian operations. Ladbrokes had previously bought Shannon’s bookmaker.com.au business in 2013 for a reported $22.5 million.

At the time, the London-listed Ladbrokes – now Ladbrokes Coral after a Β£2 billion merger with Gala Coral year – said it was attracted to Mr Shannon’s business due to its skilled technology operation and an independently developed betting software platform created specifically for the Australian market.

Neds, fully owned by Mr Shannon according to company documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has recruited more than a dozen staff for Tatts Group’s Ubet business ahead of its pending $11 billion merger with Tabcorp. He also has employed several ex-Ladbrokes employees and others that have previously worked for him in other businesses.

His re-entry to the Australian market comes at a time when the corporate bookmakers such as Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, CrownBet, William Hill and Bet365 face increasing regulatory headwinds after the introduction of a point of consumption tax on online betting in South Australia in July, the banning of credit betting and the pending restriction on betting ads on television during some live sports events.

But it is understood Mr Shannon will focus more on new lottery-style products and the push into foreign markets.

While he is well known in bookmaker circles, Mr Shannon keeps a low profile and would not comment when contacted by The Australian Financial Review about his new company’s plans.

He also reportedly made his first fortune in internet pornography before going into bookmaking, and paid $10.4 million in late 2014 for “Sails”, a seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom waterfront spread on Hope Island on the Gold Coast.

The mansion was reportedly sold for $11 million earlier this year.

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Source: Australian Financial Review

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