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Betfred win big by investing in EMMA AI

EMMA AI Robot Emma front


Reduction in energy spend

< 1 year

Payback time


Upfront capital investment

The challenge

Betfred are one of the country’s largest and most successful betting shop groups, founded and led by the inimitable Fred Done – the Fred in Betfred. They maintain a large retail estate (1400+) of high street betting shops. Each with relatively low individual consumption, but collectively a large and increasing cost. The challenge was how to optimise consumption showcasing Betfred’s active pursuit of their Net Zero carbon strategy.  This required an investment in both money and effort that would provide a good return on investment for the company as well as the environment

The solution

Betfred used Optimal Monitoring’s EMMA AI® platform to capture, curate and analyse their existing data to identify abnormal and anomalous use of energy. Using its AI knowledge base EMMA provided immediate and actionable advice, as work tickets on a day +1 basis. These were sent directly to the individual shop teams, creating an army of energy managers capable of making positive and immediate changes at no extra cost and with minimal effort.

“We knew we had opportunities to reduce expense and show the world we were serious about our environmental responsibilities. EMMA gave us the tool and the knowledge to make best practise in one store the new target for all stores without adding layers of people and cost to do so.”

– Len Hodges, Estates Manager @ Betfred

Educating and informing end users was key as historically store managers didn’t really see energy management as part of their remit. Giving them relevant recommendations, based on yesterday’s data, that made sense to them, like identifying equipment which could be turned off overnight, or items operating in unused areas was critical as it has an immediate impact on operating results. EMMA AI was able to do this as its AI engine adopts a ‘no normal’ starting point and treats every site or estate as unique, an essential approach for Betfred, given their limited comparators for benchmarking.


Energy and Carbon Management became a board sponsored initiative, well- advertised throughout the retail estate.

When I heard about EMMA AI, I honestly thought it was another gimmick, but the team at Optimal Monitoring have proved to be honest and easy to work with, delivering on their promise to make us great savings. You have got to love a product that does that.

Fred Done

Owner and Founder, Betfred

The results

Utilising EMMA’s AI knowledge base, it generated daily, fact-based, reports with straightforward recommendations. These were sent out daily prompting feedback – ‘Was my suggestion, right’?  ‘What did you do’? ensured prompt action, kept shop teams engaged, and allowed the AI engine to improve its recommendations by learning from feedback. All of which combined to deliver real, quantifiable savings.

“We’re a gambling business, our people are competitive by nature. EMMA AI gave us the means to be able to harness and benefit from this. We knew we had opportunities due to the variances in consumption we saw across the estate, so using data and instructions that everyone quickly accepted as gospel we created a bit of competition.”

– Len Hodges, Estates Manager @ Betfred

Initially all regions were informed of the need to better manage utility consumption but only the East region was provided with instructions from EMMA AI, this allowed us to prove the additional impact of EMMA AI. Unsurprisingly it was found that store management reacted positively to the instructions from EMMA and took swift action to improve their shops consumption.

EMMA AI’s consistent and measurable instructions ensured that savings and improvements remained intact, even amidst staff turnover—a long-standing challenge in energy management.

Focusing on overnight consumption and comparing Q1 of 2020 with Q1 2022 the savings are clear, showing an annualised reduction of 6.3% or £234,000pa in electricity spend, equal to 131 tonnes of CO2e.

After demonstrating EMMA AI’s positive impact on savings and emissions, we’ve implemented the platform across all stores nationwide. Expected annual savings are projected to rise to around £381,000[1], with a Return on Expenditure (savings over licence fees) in the hundreds of percentage points and a payback period within a year. Note: EMMA AI has no capital cost as it replaces invasive hardware with its AI engine, needing no additional infrastructure, in most cases.

[1] Based on the caped rate of £0.40/kWh

What we learned

Betfred are one of the country’s largest and most successful betting shop groups, founded and led by the inimitable Fred Done – the Fred in Betfred. They maintain a large retail estate (1400+) of high street betting shops. Each with relatively low individual consumption, but collectively a large and increasing cost. The challenge was how to optimise consumption and at the same time empower and demonstrate how Betfred were actively pursuing their Net Zero carbon strategy, at a cost in money and effort that provided a good return on investment for the firm as well as the environment.

Data alone never helps

Betfred had a mass of valuable data but no effective means to turn that into wealth-creating activity. EMMA AI solved that.

Dealing with 000s of locations is difficult

The size and shape of the estate; 1,400 locations many of them quite small meant that it was uneconomic to optimise performance using traditional means. Only an AI solution could work in this environment.

More tech and people doesn't help

Throwing technology at people and telling them to get on with it doesn’t work. They need to be properly introduced to the opportunity, this creates and helped to absorb it into their daily work practises.

AI technology delivers a high ROI

Use of AI technology delivers a very high Return On Investment, with low operational impact enabling Energy management to become continuous and mainstream.

More staff cannot deliver these results

It would never have been viable to achieve this level of saving with staff led analysis and communication.

Savings can be realised from day one

Only an AI solution that requires no capex for infrastructure and no army of analysts (the AI engine does that) can deliver these sort of results in the timesframe seen.

Continuous comms is essential

Initial instructions from management to ‘switch off’ delivered positive impact but continuous, exception-led, communication is needed to maintain this in the long term

Only AI can join the dots

An AI solution is uniquely capable of joining the dots across numerous small units in an estate. It identifies common threads among similar occurrences and repetitive anomalies that might otherwise go unnoticed but, when seen collectively, prove significant.

Want to see exactly how much you could save?

If you would like to see exactly how much your business could save across all your sites, then drop us your details below and a member of the team will be in touch to arrange a demo or a free evaluation of your site energy data. Or, why not try our ROI Calculator, which will give you an indication of the savings available.

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