Online gaming site Betfair is set to launch a new payment platform this month to improve its operations and help increase customer numbers.

Betfair posted its first set of half-year financial results since it went public today, which showed profit before tax was up 49 percent for the six months to October, at £16.9 million, aided by betting on the World Cup. However, the cancellation of race meetings as a result of the bad weather had negatively impacted sales.

International business driven by foreign events is seen as key to driving further business growth, and the company said technology will play an important role. Betfair told investors in a statement: "Activity in the first half was focused on enhancing certain back office functions including a new payments platform which will be launched this month."

The company said: "This new platform allows us to add new payment methods more quickly, which will be important in increasing conversion as our customer base becomes more international."

Betfair said it had embarked on a technology investment programme earlier this year to ensure it is "in a position to preserve and extend its product leadership and market share in an increasingly complex regulatory environment".

The technology investment remains on track to be completed in 2012, said the company.

David Yu, Betfair chief executive Officer, said: "We believe that Betfair?s unique product proposition and well-invested technology platform position the group strongly for growth in the years to come."

During the first half of the year Betfair said it had focused on expanding the availability of its betting exchange across a variety of mobile platforms.

It released native applications for the iPhone, the iPad and Android devices "which are already driving significant growth in average revenue per user (ARPU) for customers using these products", said Betfair.

Sales from the mobile channel grew by over 70 percent in the first half and now represent around 4% of sports betting revenue.

In October, Betfair used its exchange technology to launch the LMAX platform for online retail financial trading.