Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What are bookmakers for if not to lay a bet?

So where are we up to then? That's right. Them dirty dastardly bookie chaps, few of which would appear to want to lay a bet.

The superbly named 'Bertie Big Bollocks' left a comment on Sunday that merits closer perusal (if only to bring attention to the pen name!)...

"Hi, you know people complain that the bookies are unfair cos they closed accounts, but lets face it if your bad for business your not wellcome, put yourself in there shoes, your costing them money!! if it was your business,wot would you do? i'm onto my 6th lot of accounts, still have all 6 on the go but have lost alot of different bookmaker accounts. I find the biggest bookie hate is wot they wood call stealing the price lol, you get on say 10/1 and the sp is 4/1, you do this time and time again the bookie picks up on this and long term they know that your going to come out on top so they close you down. wot can you do about this to prolong your accounts? do some mug bets trebles accums... your still get closed down in the long run, but hopfully in the meantime you would have taken a few quid off of them. you can use LOGMEIN on ipad two work your home computers when your out and about to place your bets and its free to down load."

Now, I can see where BBB is coming from here. He's been polite to avoid actually saying, "Look, this is a fact of gambling life. Stop moaning and get on with it", in so many words, but reading between the lines, this is the message I'm getting. And you know something, it's that kind of attitude that is spot on. Never one for moaning - unless it's against a poor refereeing decision against the mighty Arsenal - I do think that this is the approach we punters need to take. I've no time for excuse making - excuses don't make money and simply get in the way of what we're trying to achieve in life, so in this regard, I couldn't agree with BBB more.

However...I don't agree with BBB's actual words. I can see the logic that if a business has an unprofitable client then it is quite understandable should they take measures to get rid. That's fine, but only up to a point. Skeeve has already highlighted how Pinnacle set an admirable example in how they use successful punters to their advantage but this aside, surely the role of a BOOKMAKER is to make a BOOK. That is, they ought to concentrate on running a book which proficiently provides the overround that is their profit. Or am I missing something here?

What percentage of a major bookmaker's clients make money anyway? We all know how difficult it is to turn a profit over the long term, and I suggest there aren't many that do. These are multi-million pound turnover companies we're talking about here. In August 2011, Ladbrokes announced their half yearly profits had slipped - to £71.8 million! That's not turnover. That's profit. Their turnover in that six month period was £1.25 billion! And these in recessionary times.

Now in this context, please consider the regular appearances made by smarmy bookmaker reps on Channel 4 Racing, ATR and Racing UK, boasting about how they lay big bets, complaining that they've been taken for millions in the ring when a short-priced favourite wins a big race at Cheltenham. That they're so customer focused though, that they'll be back tomorrow, bravely laying anyone for any amount.

Consider the way in which the bookmaking companies with high street shops have spent a relatively small part of their income on installing slot machines, machines that prey on the vulnerable (Gambling Aware have labelled these machines a scourge of society) and which are guaranteed to make a certain percentage of turnover in profit. Ladbrokes turnover on these machines for the same period referred to above was £4.9 billion! That's £4.9bn worth of turnover with a guaranteed percentage of profit produced!

Now consider the likes of Fred Done and Victor Chandler's advertising campaigns in which they portray themselves as being 'The Punter's Friend', or as characters who frequent various sporting events laying anyone who wants a bet. Good old reliable Fred - he'll always take a bet! It's what he does!

Consider these things, and then ask if it's reasonable to close the account of someone - or at least severely restrict the account - of the very few who make a profit. Ask how, in this context, Bet365 will allow a punter with an average stake of £20-£100 to win a maximum of just £30 on the outcome of any one horse race. How can, when a company market themselves as being a bookmaker, be justified in taking such action?

To my mind, they can't. End of.

Right. I've run out of time, what with the footie this evening and all. I do want to talk about Mike's comment (SBC Mike, that is) left under Sunday's post, because that will lead us nicely to talking about how we can fight back against these bookies and their desperate and evil deeds. This is a war and we are fighting the fight of the righteous don't you know? Oh yes.

But right now I'm done in. See you tomorrow.

Today's Betting

Small profit today. Winning Racing Tips played an each way single which placed (Global Sunset - Haydock - 5/2) and doubled it up with a winner (Oscar's Sunset - Hereford - 5/2). They also had a non-runner that was doubled up with Oscar's Sunset too, so obviously there was a return there too. All a bit complicated, but all ended well.

On The Nose found another winner from their two selections (Chance du Roy - Haydock - 9/2), and The Sportsman Racing did the same (Outrageous Request - Hereford - Evens) but came out dead even on the day. A day to forget for Chasemaster (0/3) and The Market Examiner (0/6).

Chasemaster: Staked 0.625pts, -0.625pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +1.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 5pts, -5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.6pts, +1.118pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1pt, +/-.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 19.75pts, -7.55pts, roi -38.23%
4PA: Staked 43.5pts, -3.312pts, roi -7.61%
Chasemaster: Staked 6.375pts, +1.878pts, roi 29.46%
WRT: Staked 9.1pts, +1.945pts, roi 21.38%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 5.25pts, +1.363pts, roi 25.96%
On The Nose: Staked 21.25pts, +2.5pts, roi 11.76%
The Market Examiner: Staked 30pts, +5.755pts, roi 19.18%

TFA 7/22: Staked 14pts, +5.485pts, roi 39.17%
Skeeve: Staked 47pts, +8.369pts, roi 17.8%
Football Elite: Staked 11pts, +6.445pts, roi 58.59%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.5pts, 0pts, roi 0%
On The Oche: Staked 2pts, +0.25pts, roi 12.5%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 11pts, -3.3pts, -30%

Match of the Day, here I come...


  1. Hi Rowan

    Have you crunched the numbers to see where you would be and what effect it would have on your P&L if you were to simply back everything @ Betfair SP?

    The obvious questions as Betfair won't close you down, OK they will take a huge % of you profits once you have made £250,000 but you can re asses that when it happens, just a thought.


  2. I haven't, Neil. The thought has crossed my mind that I should be looking to Betfair more, but what has put me off is that a high percentage of my bets are placed each way, and of course the prices to place are not as good on the exchanges. My belief is that a selection is tipped each way only if there is value in both the win price and the place price. To take reduced odds on the place half of the bet is therefore eroding that value and of course with it, the long term edge that we hold.

    Of course one solution long term, is to follow the racing services that advise win only, such as The Market Examiner. They're few and far between though.