Hedge Fund Returning 17% on Sports Bets Moving to EuropeAlex Duff
Priomha Capital Pty Ltd, an Australian hedge fund manager that bets clients’ money on sports, plans to relocate to Gibraltar by the end of the year to double the A$5 million ($3.9 million) it has under management.
Melbourne-based Priomha’s multisports fund returned an average of 17 percent since 2010 by betting all of the funds as often as twice a month, Chief Executive Officer Brendan Poots said in a telephone interview. Priomha uses computer models to wager on English Premier League soccer, as well as cricket, horse racing, golf and tennis.
The sports fund, which will target high net worth individuals and family offices, has expanded more cautiously than Galileo, a previous sports-gambling fund managed by Centaur Global Ltd., Poots said. Galileo, which had offices in London, owed creditors more than 2 million pounds ($3 million) when Centaur folded in 2012.
Investors will have “a greater degree of comfort” after we move because hedge funds in Gibraltar are regulated more thoroughly than in Australia, according to Poots, a former cricketer who played for the U.K.’s Sussex. The relocation will also bring tax advantages, he added.
Poots said he’s in advanced talks with Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission about becoming a private fund, “a sort of traineeship” for 12 months, and then becoming an experienced investor fund.
Employing a method used by individual gamblers and syndicates, Priomha looks for value by tracking sports statistics against betting odds before and during matches. Centaur overstretched itself while still working on such algorithms when it opened its sports fund in 2010, according to Poots. Former Centaur CEO Keith Sobey couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Priomha employs three statisticians to work with traders, and bases as little as 20 percent of decision-making on “qualitative” judgment, such as the effect on a team of the injury of a key player, Poots said. It hedges betting to offset potential losses.
Even if the fund’s model is effective, its expansion will be restricted by the volume of regulated betting in sports, according to Peter Blake, founder of Hook, England-based Bet Angel Ltd., which sells software to help individuals to wager on sports trading exchanges such as Betfair Plc.
Blake, who’s also a professional sports gambler, said it’s not possible to bet more than about 175,000 pounds on the Grand National, one of the U.K.’s biggest horse races, without distorting market prices.
“There are opportunities in sports betting for individuals but I am not sure that a fund would be able to do much damage,” Blake said.
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