Now one of the most recognised faces in the world of sports betting, Fred Done started out in the bookmaking business when he was still a kid. As “a runner” for his bookmaker father, he collected football bets from factories and pubs.
In 1967, Fred and his brother Peter opened the first Betfred betting shop in Salford. The shop was funded largely by the proceeds from a bet that England would win the World Cup. By 1969, the brothers had purchased a second shop, and there was no looking back.
By 1997, Fred had opened his 100th shop – and by 2005, he had opened his 500th. Today Betfred has over 1,370 betting shops, as well as a significant share of the online sports betting market. Fred and his brother Peter are worth more than £660 million combined, and Betfred has annual turnover in excess of £8 billion a year.
In 2011, Betfred bought the Tote for £265 million, becoming the only organization licensed to allow tote betting on horses in the UK. Betfred also acquired the Tote’s 517 shops and Totesport.com, which has now been rebranded as Totepool.com. It continues to offer the ever-popular Scoop 6, along with Win, Place, Exacta, Trifecta, Jackpot, Placepot and Quadpot bets.
Fred is a lifelong Manchester United fan, and famously lost a £1 million bet to Victor Chandler of BetVictor on the team finishing ahead of Chelsea during the 2004-5 Premier League.
He’s also famous for having made early payouts on bets backing Manchester United. In 1998, Betfred lost £500,000 when it paid out early on bets for Man United to win the Premier League, only for Arsenal to win by one point. It lost out again in 2012, when the Red Devils lost to Chelsea. In 2013, Betfred paid out another £500,000 early, but Man United did indeed go on to win the trophy.
Betfred is the largest sponsor of horse racing in the UK. It currently sponsors over 700 races, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup.