I thought this week, seeing as it’s so topical, I’d take a break from talking about losing runs and all they bring and instead post a few thoughts on something which on the face of it is a huge positive for us punters.
As most of you are probably aware, BetVictor announced recently that they would guarantee to lay a bet with a liability of up to £500 on all UK and Irish horse racing from 11.00 each morning. Not long after BetVictor’s statement, Betfair Sportsbook announced they would adopt a very similar policy; their offer would be available from 10.00am but would apply exclusively to win-only bets.
There is no doubt that these moves represent a big step forward in the battle for fair bookmaking practices that has been wagered so vigorously and admirably by the Smart Betting Club and led by the Horseracing Betting Forum. Undoubtedly as a result of their actions the UK Gambling Commission has been forced to recognise that there is a problem within UK bookmaking practices that requires attention.
So on the face of it, all seems well and good. However, and here is where you need to forgive me for being something of a cynical old git, I can’t help wondering about the motivation of BetVictor and Betfair to lead the way in this betting revolution. Could it be a relatively short-term PR move aimed at attracting customers before an inevitable weedling out of those that show themselves to be profitable, who will then face the all too familiar account restrictions and closures? I very much hope not (and think this unlikely, to be honest) but Blacktype’s glorious entry into the bookmaking world not so long ago, with accompanying fanfair around their non-restriction of punters policy proved to be something a false dawn as that policy was seemingly dropped, presumably for commercial reasons.
And to my mind, therein lies the crux of the issue of whether or not BetVictor and Betfair (and perhaps other firms that follow suit) are able to carry their £500 liability policy forward long term. We have to acknowledge and embrace the fact that these are businesses whose aim (and rightly so) is to make a profit. I find it fascinating that BetVictor have decided, as they must have, that introducing this new strategy will likely lead to growing their profitability. After all, standing a bet on the horses up to £500 is a long long way from limiting an account that was open long enough only for literally a handful of bets to be placed, none of which carried a liability of more than £100, before being restricted to less than a pound on a 2/1 shot! I speak from personal experience…
We can only hope that BetVictor and Betfair are rewarded for their striking out against the tide of account closures and crippling restrictions in that by doing so, they start making more money. Yep, it’s a strange old world when I want the bookies to do well! But if they do, then other firms will undoubtedly follow in Victor’s footsteps and before we know it, we bettors will be in a much better place than we are now. And even this cynical old git can dream!
Thought I’d leave the figures for a day or two for a ‘Review of the Month’ post, which will follow shortly.