Earlier this week Bet Victor made a significant announcement of interest to punters everywhere with the introduction of a ‘minimum £500 bet guarantee’ for all UK and Irish horse races.
This guarantee states that, from 11am each day, anyone, even those of you who have had Bet Victor accounts closed in the past, are now eligible to win up to £500 betting on horse racing.
Here is what they had to say:
“As of today (Monday 20th August), when placing a single bet as normal, customers will be presented with the option of selecting Guaranteed Bet, a new market which will give customers the chance to win up to £500 on the ‘win’ part of a single bet. The market will appear alongside existing ‘extra markets’ on any race.
Guaranteed Bet is only available on ‘win’ and ‘each way’ single bets only from 11am on the day of the race until the race starts. Thus, a £50 ‘each way’ bet on a horse at 10/1 would qualify.”
Betfair Follow Suit…
The very next day Betfair also announced an expansion of their own £500 minimum bet guarantee to class 1 and 2 races and several other race meetings taking place in the UK and Ireland.
This offer is slightly different in that it applies an hour earlier from 10am and covers win bets only. In addition, it also included the intriguing caveat ‘Betfair reserves the right to exclude customers who, we believe, are executing trades using automated systems or software.’ Some might see that as a possible get out clause….
You can read about Betfair’s offer in more detail here and no doubt news on which race meetings will qualify for this concession will follow each week.
Step In The Right Direction
Both Bet Victor and Betfair’s announcements are the first step on the road toward a voluntary acceptance of bets from all punters, including those of us previously deemed ‘unprofitable’ due to the nature of the bets being placed.
Many customers have been closed or heavily restricted by racing bookmakers and not just those of us with a proven track-record either. There are numerous stories of loss making punters having accounts blacklisted simply for taking the wrong bet at the wrong time or with ‘standout’ odds.
This is a subject that I have covered in depth here at SBC, whether through our 2016 Better Betting Campaign, articles on keeping your bookmaker account open, or the call to action to raise awareness of the issue with the Gambling Commission back in March.
Finally, it now seems that action is being taken and that bookmakers have started to recognise that there might be a better way forward than the current mess.
HBF’s Chair Speaks
These guaranteed bet announcements come hot on the heels of discussions held by bookmakers with the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF), an organisation first setup in 2015 to represent the interests of those who bet on Horse Racing.
Acknowledging the depth of the account restrictions/closures issue for punters everywhere, the HBF board opened dialogue with bookmakers on a voluntary Minimum Bet Offer and these recent announcements are the result of that.
To find out more on this story I chatted to current HBF chairman, Matt Bisogno, for his thoughts on these recent developments. Here is what he had to say:
“From a punter perspective, this is obviously very good news. It should reduce the number of duplicate accounts and, far more materially than getting a bet to win £500, it means that most previously restricted punters will be able to have £20 on a 5/1 shot. It seems ridiculous that that is not the case universally, but I think that is the headline win here.
Of course, we punters cannot have our cake and eat it, and I think it is right that operators make the MBL (Minimum Bet Liability) provision on a ‘no frills’ basis, i.e. no Best Odds Guarantee offers.
Competition in the marketplace should still ensure that such concessions exist for recreational bettors: in other words, I think we’re moving towards two different punter demographics, each of which is catered for slightly differently.
My hope is that operators will see an improved turnover from MBL such that, even if their margin is slightly reduced, the absolute figure remains competitive as a result of the greater volume wagered. That will depend on how MBL is traded on both sides of the transaction, of course, and punters have a duty to ‘play nicely’ to that end.
These are interesting times, and I’m pleased HBF has been able to directly impact the landscape, hopefully for the better.”
Some great insight from Matt and I think most punters would agree that getting something on, even without concessions like Best Odds Guaranteed from 10/11am onwards is better than nothing at all.
More Bookies To Follow?
Whilst only 2 bookmakers are onboard so far, as per an online guaranteed bet offer, it is hoped more will join them in due time with another major firm rumoured to be close to doing exactly that.
It is also reasonable to assume that all other bookmakers will be watching the outcome of Bet Victor’s and Betfair’s new guaranteed bet offer with keen interest and will likely follow suit should it work out (i.e. if it is profitable for them).
It is more than possible that in doing so, the terms surrounding such guaranteed bets might be expanded as competition grows. Higher staking levels, earlier bet times, and even expansion into other markets and sports could feasibly follow – yet only if this early roll-out goes well.
Many punters, quite rightly, are deeply cynical about bookmaker motives and promises, yet this on the face of it does look promising so far. We must acknowledge, however, that it’s only being offered by these bookmakers because they feel it might be overall a winning venture for them.
Bet Victor Closed Accounts
One other very interesting point to raise regards those of you who have suffered closed or restricted betting accounts with Bet Victor as they are re-activating such accounts for those punters who wish to delve into their new guaranteed bet market.
I notified SBC members of this earlier this week and I have already heard from many who have had their accounts re-opened and made eligible to bet from 11am on these races.
I even heard from one member who had his Bet Victor account closed 5 years ago and, yet, was seemingly no longer registered on their system (at least they couldn’t find him!). He has now opened a fresh new Bet Victor account that can now bet on all markets.
With this in mind, it is well worth checking where you stand- to do this, Bet Victor are inviting you to email firstname.lastname@example.org with details on your account for usage with the Guaranteed Bet market.
My early analysis of the odds also indicate that horses in the ‘Guaranteed Bet’ market with Bet Victor have identical odds to those offered to all other customers. Thus, any fears over a ‘2-tier’ odds system should be allayed.
Keeping You Updated
I will of course keep you all updated on any further developments as per these Guaranteed Bet Offers should as hoped, more bookmakers join Bet Victor and Betfair.
I am also keeping a keen eye on how these existing offers play out and how they are honoured, with all SBC members having a direct line to me to share feedback on their experiences.
Those of you on Twitter can also follow the Smart Betting Club (@sbcinfo) for the very latest news as it breaks.
Smart Betting Club Editor