Back in November 2016, SBC penned a report on a new bookmaker on the scene, Black Type and in today’s email I have an important update to share on their service as a follow-up to that.
Black Type began life back in August 2016, and immediately drew lots of interest with many intrigued by their straight talking and guarantee to lay all punters to lose up to £500 on any bet, even if they were regular winners.
To discover more, I interviewed Black Type and published this alongside SBC’s investigation into the odds they offered in a special Black Type report in November 2016
Since that original report, several things have changed in terms of Black Type’s approach and I thought it prudent to update you all on the current situation to bring you up to speed.
Some subtle and indeed some less-subtle changes have raised a few concerns and whilst for my money, they still represent a better option that many of their competitors, I felt it was important to clarify exactly what is on offer from Black Type these days as I understand it.
To Black Type’s credit as well, they have also replied to the points raised through this article, details of which can be found further on.
Black Type’s Initial £500 Lay Guarantee
The main headline grabber for Black Type upon launch from SBC’s perspective, was their guarantee to lay all punters up to £500 to win, including their acceptance of bets from winning punters.
This was the kind of offer many of us had long hoped to see and Black Type seemed a welcome addition to the bookmaking ranks.
It was made clear through the interview that this £500 guarantee was open to all aside from obvious arbers or those using bots or automated methods to scrape a few quid ‘gaming’ the system. Those abusing it in this way would be spotted and banned, whilst those trying to get genuine bets on would be accommodated, even if winners.
Black Type backed their traders to ultimately use their skill to build a book and make a profit as they made clear in the original interview:
“With more and more punters wanting to take our prices, punters need to be quick and our traders need to be agile to manage our liabilities effectively by ‘old school bookmaking’. If we take a bet from a winning punter we are confident our traders will use the ‘mark’ to position themselves in the market where they will take money on other selections and build a book.We are backing our traders to set the correct odds for the right events that will attract punters through the door and effectively betting that they’ll still make a decent profit margin at the end of the month.“
Perhaps best of all was their statement inviting those punters trying following popular tipsters to try getting on. Here is what they told me in the original 2016 interview:
“Punters who like to follow a certain tipster, like Hugh Taylor, Pricewise or those the Smart Betting Club recommends will not be penalized. They just have to accept that others will be after ‘popular prices’ too so they will need to be quick to get the best prices and also be prepared to take a lower price if they miss out. Unlike other bookmakers, their potential winnings on tipster selections will not be restricted. Our bet to win guarantees will still apply and they will still be able to have a bet to win at least £500.”
What Has Changed Since Then
As you can imagine these statements were welcomed by many operating at the sharp end of the betting market as Black Type looked to carve out their niche in the competitive bookmaking world.
In more recent times though, it’s become clear that there have been some notable changes to these original policies, which this article is intended to address.
The first and most obvious change is the removal of the guarantee to lay to lose £500 on any bet. This is no longer listed on the Black Type website and has quietly been dropped.
I have also had communication with around a dozen or so punters, some SBC members, some not, who have experienced issues with their Black Type accounts, including that of stake restrictions.
Some punters have had all promotional offers removed from their accounts, whilst others were told that their following of popular tipping lines would not be accommodated and restrictions in the region of max winnings of £50 to £100 or £200 applied. Still they were able to get on, yet clearly this went against the original statements on the guarantee.
Almost all contacting me complained about the customer service replies they received as well – a situation that frustrated them further.
Here are a few of the comments received that illustrate some of the problems these punters have had:
“I had a 13/2 winner on Saturday for £30 each way, which had an SP of 10/1 SP. I tried to put £30 ew on yesterday and they limited me to £12.37. I’ve not even won any money from them”
“In their 2016 interview, they [Black Type] stated they wouldn’t restrict anyone was who playing fair. And in their terms and conditions they said they’d give people warning etc.
Without warning, they restricted me to pennies. They said that I did too much Hugh Taylor – I also did a couple of other paid-for tipsters too, and some of my own Scottish football bets.
I was polite but stated they quite clearly said it was fine to bet tipsters in their interview with you – they actually explicitly mentioned Hugh Taylor themselves and said people were welcome to try him. I said they had to review this as they were telling media one thing then doing the opposite to their customers. They eventually agreed to let me bet-to-win £100 (rather than £500), or £200 on popular races.“
“I contacted Black Type earlier as I have noticed a few of my bets not getting matched recently.
They responded by informing me that my account has now been restricted to £250 for horse racing. I obviously replied reminding them of their own marketing message of ‘never restricting winning accounts’ to which they replied that they thought £250 was still fair!”
After being restricted to £28 on a 7/4 bet I was told that:
“Your continuing plays on tipping lines will not be tolerated. We are here to offer a fair service and not to appease punters who are looking to exploit the service to their own gain, by consistently following in tipping lines.”
“They’d lay me to lose very small amounts but while knocking back my bets they would cut the price. I’m a member of a good tipster service, but would never put the full amount advised on with just one bookie.
It was very surprising and disappointing as I remember reading that they wouldn’t restrict anyone and that the onus was on their traders to get the odds right”
Black Type’s Response
When the first of these messages started to come through late in 2017, I approached Black Type to ask if they could help address these queries and clarify what their position now was.
At this point they agreed to a detailed, updated interview, which would tackle some of these questions on restrictions, their lay guarantee and so on, in an effort to get the latest from them.
Sadly, despite numerous attempts and slipped deadlines, I was unable to get the promised detailed replies to these questions. Whether this was down to a lack of time or appetite to tackle this issue, it’s hard to say but I felt 6 months was long enough to wait for some definitive answers. It was high time for an update on this topic.
Hence why I put together this article and in the interests of fairness, I shared it in advance of publication with Black Type to see if they wished to post a reply.
To their credit they did and shared the following statement with me from their Head of Media and Communication, David Preece:
“Black Type was launched in late August 2016 to service a clear gap in the UK market with an odds focussed and customer friendly approach. Black Type’s goal was to prove that it was possible to build a brand by investing in a bespoke price driven strategy without the expensive and one off marketing campaigns employed by the majority of existing and new market entrants, a lot of whom are now, more so than ever, over reliant on commoditized price feeds and managed services.
Black Type’s ethos remains to offer good prices, fair limits and varied betting opportunities to customers via an easy to use interface. Black Type currently provides horse racing, greyhounds, football and sports (pre-match and in-play) casino and virtual betting via website, mobile / tablet and a native IOS and a soon to be launched Android app to UK customers only.
When Black Type launched there was a misconception that we were a niche horse racing brand but it was always the intention to develop a full sportsbook which adopted the same principles to the racing of offering Black Type (‘stand out’) prices. Anyone who has observed our prices on Oddschecker over the past year across a variety of sports including football, cricket, snooker, darts and boxing will see we have been true to our word, regularly betting to far more competitive margins than industry standard.
With a growing customer base of regular, satisfied customers 2017-18 has proven to be a transformational year for Black Type as we have moved out of the ‘start-up phase’ and recently completed a round of investment to allow us to consolidate our position as the UK’s leading price focussed bookmaker.
Black Type attracted a lot of attention for initially offering a ‘bet to win’ guarantees but like any business we have evolved over time. The main brand message is now all about Black Type always offering value which will be actively promoting this summer on social media and via sponsorship of Ripon racecourse for the 2018 season. The bet to win guarantee was in place for well over a year and many of our customers, including ‘winning accounts’ still enjoy this concession and are laid bets to win far in excess of the £500. Indeed, we would be confident that Black Type compare very favourably within the industry when it comes to laying bets in size.
Yes, some customers did have the concession removed and have restrictions placed on their account which was largely down to the nature of their betting patterns and attempts to ‘exploit the system’. In the vast majority of cases they were contacted by members of our trading team who observe bets in ‘real time’ and advised that their account was under scrutiny and should they choose to offer more genuine business they would not have restrictions imposed. At other bookmakers, accounts would have been automatically closed or severely restricted without any communication and as you can see from some of the responses you have quoted, we do still try to allow customers to get what we deem a fair bet.
Our stance on ‘arbers’ was clear from the outset and those who exclusively use the exchanges to pick their bets can not really complain if they are not laid bets to the same size as someone who makes independent selections. It is a similar story with those who exclusively follow tipsters or look to take advantage of promotional offers. Their patterns are obvious and it very apparent they have no intention of providing genuine business.
Again, followers of tipsters were contacted by our team and advised how they could operate their accounts to fair limits. It really is a case of if the customer ‘plays fair with us we will be fair with them’ and consequently those who decided that a Black Type account was worth having are still able to follow tipsters like Hugh Taylor and Pricewise alongside backing the selections they have picked themselves.
To conclude and clarify Black Type’s business model is more like an ‘old school’ bookmaker and we are committed to offering market leading prices, wherever it is feasible, and laying a bet on high profile events to differentiate from industry standard pricing and over restrictive customer management. Black Type regularly reward loyal customers and have successfully introduced a Free Bet Club, and other promotions including Acca Cash Bonus, over the past 12 months where customers earn weekly free bets and bonuses.
The World Cup will headline a great summer of sport supported by the major racing festivals at Epsom, Royal Ascot, Newmarket, Glorious Goodwood and York so customers wanting to enjoy a premium service, where they will consistently get the best prices on front end market selections, are more than welcome to judge Black Type on their own individual experiences and are reminded Black Type will always be synonymous with value.”
What Their Reply Tells Us
So, there we have it – confirmation as to what has changed at Black Type and the latest on their policies as per winning accounts and what might happen to those of you who follow tipsters. The lay guarantee has been removed as part of the evolution of their business.
It’s certainly useful to have this update and my thanks to go to Black Type for being fair-minded enough to provide a reply and to tackle what are difficult questions for a bookmaker. Most firms wouldn’t even acknowledge such questions on this topic, let alone reply to them in detail so a lot of credit is due their way for caring enough to respond.
Whilst SBC doesn’t advocate arbing or matched betting abuse (nor following tipsters with ridiculous odds movement like Hugh Taylor or Pricewise) so understand the Black Type stance here – one point I would question is the usage of the term ‘genuine business’ and what exactly this means for those following ‘other’ less well known tipsters or strategies.
If you are following a tipster as part of your betting strategy, or choosing to bet with Black Type because they are offering the best odds in a specific market, does this somehow make your business less genuine?
After all, should a bookmaker adopting such an ‘old school’ trading method not simply adjust their books and liabilities based on inputs like this from shrewd accounts?
Perhaps this is too simplistic a view in today’s complex bookmaking world but its one many punters will have.
I don’t like the term ‘genuine business’ as it’s regularly used by other bookies as a way of describing punters that don’t win money (and conversely winning punters are termed ‘non genuine business’) and whilst Black Type do regularly accept bets from winning accounts, it does leave a bit of a grey area as to what exactly will be determined ‘genuine business’ or otherwise.
Certainly, those of you following certain tipsters or strategies that might see you backing well supported horses, should be aware of the possible issues at play here. You could have your stakes limited and/or concessions removed, although admittedly the number of customers complaining to me about this is a small minority thus far.
In Summary – Still Recommended But Be Mindful Of These Issues
Whilst a fair bit has changed since the first interview, for my money, Black Type are still much better than most, if not all other ‘major’ bookmakers – the likes you will find offering odds to customers via sites like Oddschecker.
Yes, there have been around a dozen or so issues that have been raised directly with me over time, and these do need addressing.
They however, do need putting in context to the number of punters using their service, the majority it seems have no known, major issues.
The restrictions imposed have reduced the amount that can be won to sums like £50 or £100 (so they can still get on if they wish) and unlike other bookies, they have not to my knowledge closed accounts.
Share Your Comments
As I wrap up this update, it’s important to note that SBC has no link or financial interest with Black Type – this article is solely to update you on the changes with this bookie since our first feature on them.
As ever my goal is simply to help educate and provide informed facts on all bookmakers and exchanges with the central goal of helping you make money betting.
Whilst I appreciate the difficult job bookmakers face, my interest lies not with them but with you the punter and SBC will always put your needs first.
Therefore, I hope this article has helped to bring you all up to speed on the latest as per their offering as an update to the original November 2016 SBC Black Type report.
If you have any comments you wish to raise with me on Black Type (good or bad), please do feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org with them.
For those of you after more on bookmakers, I do also recommend the Top 100 Bookies website which ranks them based on ratings received. Although it doesn’t at this time include Black Type, you can see the best and worst firms to consider betting with and its a useful resource.
Smart Betting Club Editor