A Bookmaker’s View
Most of you will have heard of Geoff Banks, I’m sure. For those who haven’t, Geoff is a bookmaker never short of an opinion, and never shy of letting that opinion be known. He is usually worth listening to and personally, I find his approach far more entertaining than most of the usual grey suited, instantly forgettable bookmaker PR reps we see most often on our TV screens.
Anyway, Geoff recently published a post in his ‘View From The Ring’ blog which put forward his stance on account restrictions and closures. I’d urge you to have a read of it – it’s interesting stuff, if not completely flawless in it’s logic.
I like the fact that Geoff has an issue with folk that use social media as a medium across which they can be abusive and potentially libellous, seemingly without redress (and I can’t help thinking it a wise move to avoid using a stick to prod Geoff’s busy legal team!). I have an issue with keyboard warriors too, but that’s another issue. What is the issue in Geoff’s piece is his obvious disregard for punters who run their betting operation as a “business”, which is where I personally have a problem with Geoff’s argument.
After claiming to have paid out one client £93k recently and subsequently left their account unrestricted, Geoff continues to launch a diatribe against those who, “sit at home utilising expensive trading software like Bet angel, price scalping tools, odds scanners or the like, masking their IP address- only offering a bookmaker a bet because their odds have become out of date, and therefore bigger than Betfair’s exchange.”
In other words, arbers.
Now I have no strong personal stance on the practice of arbing. I don’t do it myself, because I know it’s a surefire way of killing your accounts quicker than anything else you can do. But the inference that those who utilise technology, analyse data and who scour the market for best prices are somehow playing unfair? Really? Isn’t that what modern-age bookmakers do? Isn’t that what teams of analysts are employed for (and I appreciate Geoff himself may not employ teams of number-crunchers)? The betting markets are a battlefield. Surely even Geoff would agree that each side can arm themselves in the most effective way possible, before letting battle commence.
One final point on this. Pinnacle Sports “welcome” arbers. They can afford to because at a fundamental level their business model allows them to. Sure, they retain the service of numerous market analysts/traders and new-fangled technology (ie. computers), but in many ways I see them as running their books on what is the most pure and perhaps old-fashioned bookmaking principle… they make a book, allowing money to dictate the movement of their prices from their opening mark. By doing so, they balance their book, using the overround to shave their margin off the top, just as bookmakers used to do in the betting ring and on the rails at racecourses up and down the country. Do this effectively and efficiently, and I’m not sure why the source of money and what kind of punter someone is of such concern to the bookmaker. Whether it be a guy sticking a pin into his Racing Post or a “geek” with five screens on his desk – what should it matter?
I’m not dopey enough to directly compare Pinnacle with Geoff Banks; the two are completely different bookmaking animals, but I’d be interested on Geoff’s take on this last point.
Geoff – over to you…
PS. November’s figures being updated…will be posted soon!