With over 40 years of expertise in the wagering industry, Mark Read is recognized as Australia’s foremost bookmaker, punter and form analyst. Mark is regarded as a wagering legend, having successfully started and developed numerous organizations as well as developing extensive intellectual property assets in the global wagering industry.
Mark’s career commenced at a young age, where at 24 he became the youngest bookmaker ever to be granted a rails bookmaking licence by the Victoria Racing Club in Victoria, Australia. Mark went on to revolutionize bookmaking practice in Melbourne throughout the 1970s. He broke numerous turnover records including being the first bookmaker in Australia to hold $1 million on the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival, and also being the first bookmaker in Australia to turn over more than $1 million per day.
In 1980, Mark was awarded a rails bookmaking licence by the Australian Jockey Club in Sydney, where the largest on-course betting markets in the world were hosted. Here Mark continued to revolutionize bookmaking practice with his aggressive style of trading odds on all Australian States’ racing. A series of successful plunges, conducted Australia wide, gave notice that Australian betting markets extended beyond the host racecourse. Underwriting this ability to trade odds was the continual development of intellectual property in the measurement and analysis of thoroughbred performance and in the adaptation of mathematical models to create predictive models for trading.
In the early 1990’s, on-course bookmaking was in decline as attendances fell and off-course gambling competition intensified. Bookmaking needed further evolution. Mark’s response was to draw on the experience of modern brokerage firms and deliver information and analysis as a value-added service – free to the public. This was achieved through the launch of the Read Rating and Racepack products, distributed via satellite Australia wide.
In 1995, Mark sought an Australian jurisdiction who shared his vision in the future of wagering, and in the creation of global perspective through the use of evolving technologies. Both the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia accepted business plans leading to new legislation giving birth to Australia’s international corporate bookmaking industry.
In this same year, International All Sports Ltd (IAS) contracted Mark to provide strategic direction and management to its business. IAS also purchased copyright to the intellectual property systems that were the foundations of Mark’s betting and racing information technology businesses. In January 1996, Darwin All Sports Ltd, a subsidiary of IAS, was granted one of three sports bookmaking licenses in Australia by the NT Government. This license permitted the Company to conduct fixed odds betting on national and international racing as well as global sports, cultural and political events.
On the 6th of August 1999, IAS was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, having been oversubscribed in its first share offer. Its prospectus forecast was a turnover of $140M and revenue of $10M. In late 2001, Darwin All Sports Ltd changed its name to IASbet.com Pty Ltd.
Mark led the company to achieve compounded growth through both organic channels as well as through the acquisition of various businesses both domestic and international. International acquisitions also provided a platform, product offering, and client base for eGaming (casino and poker products).
Mark personally developed the company’s domestic and international horse racing products, positioning IAS as a leader in global horse racing (incl. Asian and European racing). He oversaw the company’s global sport trading business, and was fundamental in the introduction of a world-leading football (soccer) product, offering more than 500 live ‘In-Play’ games each week.
In October 2009, IAS was sold to Paddy Power Plc Australian subsidiary, Sportsbet. At the time of sale, IAS has an annual turnover of $1.3 billion, the highest of all Australian Bookmakers. The Northern Territory jurisdiction had grown to the highest turnover of all Australian States and Territories.
Today, Mark continues to grow his personal proprietary trade business, and continues to be heavily involved in the development of commercial technology solutions to further evolve the practise.
Mark is a member of the Read bookmaking family, with both his father and his grandfather having been registered bookmakers. His uncle, Sid Hill, was a prominent Melbourne Rails Bookmaker since 1966. His punting genes came from his late mother, Mabel, who still remains as Australia’s most prolific female punter.