New Podcast: Horse Racing Expert, Matt Bisogno of

In the latest SBC Podcast episode I was joined by Matt Bisogno, the founder of the website, racehorse syndicate owner and ex head of the Horseracing Bettors Forum.

Matt was a fascinating guest as he has his finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to everything connected with betting on horse racing. Whether it be the popularity of Geegeez and the tools and software it offers to those trying to ‘solve the racing puzzle’ or even the failure of the industry to grow itself and appeal to a wider audience.

That failure also expands to how it treats those who bet on racing and Matt outlines his understanding of how the land lies as per topics like betting restrictions and just why bookmakers struggle in the current ‘concessions’ climate to lay bets.

As someone who understands the arguments on both sides of the betting coin, he is in a unique position to share insight on this based on his time as chair of the punter-focused Horseracing Bettors Forum.

Matt is an engaging, articulate guest and this is a must-listen to episode for anyone with an interest in the world of betting on horse racing.

You can listen to this episode now via Apple / Spotify / Google / YouTube and all other major podcast directories (search Smart Betting Club)

Insight Into The New BetVictor & Betfair £500 Minimum Bet Guarantee


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 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.

Best Regards,

Peter Ling
Smart Betting Club Editor


Matt Bisogno Interview On The SBC 100 Milestone

To herald the release of the 100th SBC Magazine earlier this week, I was recently interviewed on all things ‘Smart Betting Club’ by Matt Bisogno of

Matt grilled me on everything from the early days of SBC, how our review process has developed, through to the tipster world as it stands today and the main issues punters now face.

You can read the interview in full below – I hope you enjoy it!

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Matt Geegeez: You’ve been going since 2006 – the same year I started online, incidentally, and we have similar aspirations for betting on horse racing, though of course SBC’s remit is broader than just racing. How does it feel to have reached the 100 issue milestone? Did you ever think you would reach this point?

Pete SBC: Honestly, no, the idea of reaching a milestone like this was beyond what was envisaged at the time. The main reason to launch was the lack of a good and transparent tipster review service, especially as we knew of plenty of profitable tipsters we felt merited exposure to a wider audience.

Having lasted 11 years and 100 magazines, I like to think we have achieved much of our remit – to help ordinary people improve their betting profitability. Had we not, I don’t think we would still be here!

Matt: Why do you feel SBC has stood the test of time and lasted so long? What is the secret to its success?

Pete: There are a couple of reasons behind our longevity.

First of all it’s the fact we have been able to consistently find good quality tipsters to review and monitor. Without these, there would be little reason for a service like SBC and I am pleased to say that if anything, the quantity and quality of genuinely good tipsters out there has only gotten stronger over the years. One of my toughest jobs now as an Editor is shortlisting the tipsters we do review in each magazine as inevitably someone’s nose will be out of joint because their service isn’t being featured.

Secondly, I would have to say that our independent stance has really helped us stand out too as the public always knows our opinion is unbiased and fair. Nor are we influenced by advertising or ‘under the table’ deals to praise something for any reason other than a belief it is genuinely good.

Compared to many other, especially mainstream betting media outlets, who are clearly compromised by their lack of independence, I think our stance appeals to those seeking impartial advice.

Matt: There’s no doubt that SBC has made a mark in the online betting space. What impact do you feel you have had?

Pete: I certainly like to think we have had a hand in dragging standards up when it comes to tipster services.

Whilst there will always be those tipsters that try it on, in the main, punters these days expect a lot more from any tipster before signing-up to a service and can spot a scam that much easier.

Whether that’s the ability to see a full set of results (not just the winners) or some evidence of third party proofing to verify claims, punters are more clued up to what to expect from a tipster.

I also think we have helped make the idea of using tipsters to make money a more realistic proposition. So many SBC members are doing this these days and blogs like our own Bet Diary, have helped expose this as a realistic goal.

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Matt: Amongst other things, you are known for your tipster reviews and reports. What has changed in the tipping world over the past 11 years (both good and bad!)?

Pete: Continuing from that last point of improved standards, certainly the professionalism, transparency and quality of tipsters in general has changed and for the better. Especially those we review at the sharper end of the market who really have a significant edge.

A large chunk of this is down to what is required to stand-out in today’s crowded tipster market place. It’s no good just simply giving out tips and hoping they win.  Thought needs to go into your customer service, odds settlement policy, the bookmakers you quote and your staking and betting bank advice, plus many other things.

We have also (thankfully) seen the decline in popularity of premium rate phone tipsters who would hide behind unobtainable winners and could claim all sorts in their adverts, regardless of how good they are. Most of them were and still are, ridiculously overpriced and unprofitable.

Matt: And have you evolved your approach to reviewing tipsters? How exactly?

Pete: As SBC grew and expanded, so too did the time and resource we could plough into our reviews, which in turn really helped us improve them and set certain important standards.

The odds tracking we run for all our tipster reviews is a case in point, because through this we monitor how the advised odds hold up for each tip advised. If for example a tipster is advising and settling a bet at 16/1, yet within 15 minutes it is consistently likely to be a best 10/1, you need to know about that!

Just this week I have been examining a racing tipster claiming a ROI of over 45%, yet if taking the best price on their tips just 15 minutes after release, the ROI drops by 25%. Even if you can get the advised odds, these kind of price drops will only see your bookmaker account red flagged for restriction.

Our approach to betting banks is also another area we spent a lot of time working on, to ensure we could apply certain standards across the board to make for easy comparison.

Matt: Return on Investment, Return on Capital, points profit, strike-rate… there are a lot of ways of measuring the effectiveness of a tipster. Which is the one key calculation out of all of them you look for? And how would you rank those four?

Pete: Out of all of them I would tend towards Return on Capital, because ultimately it tells you how much money you will make if following. If I know a tipster makes 200% bank growth in an average year, I know that £2000 will make me £4000 and can put the profits in context.

Return on Investment is also very useful as it tells you how much you must stake to make a profit so should never be ignored. A tipster might claim they made £5000 profit last year, but if you had to risk £500,000 to achieve that (A ROI of just 1%) you wouldn’t want to follow them in!

Both ROI and ROC together are a potent way to judge a tipster.

In order of importance I would go: ROC, ROI, Points Profit, Strike-Rate.

SBC Subscription – The Best Money I Spend Each Year”

The SBC reviews gave me enough enough confidence to subscribe to a highly rated horse racing service…I have ended up subscribing to two more very good racing services and I am still making good profits to this day. The subs I pay each year to the SBC is some of the best money i spend.”

As written by’Phil’- An SBC member for several years

Click here to read more from Phil on his SBC membership experience

Matt: Over the course of the first 100 issues, you have reviewed, literally, hundreds of tipsters. Do you think there is more choice for punters looking for tipsters these days compared to when you started? And how can punters protect themselves from disreputable tipsters?

Pete: Yes, there is certainly more choice for punters these days. One simple reason for this is how easy it is to setup a website and take online payments these days, so anyone can do it.

There are also quite a few good ‘tipster hub’ website that do this for you, such as Pyckio, Betting Gods & Tipster Street (alongside our own Premium Section), who operate to high standards and feature a smattering of good tipsters.

In terms of protecting yourself, I would urge any punter interested in a tipster to firstly check sites like SBC and Geegeez for our own reviews on their service. If that uncovers nothing then don’t be afraid to send the tipster an email to ask questions like where do they proof, do they have a full history of results and what is their odds quoting and settling policy?

Very often the reply received will be indicative of their customer service and how genuine they are. And if something doesn’t seem quite right…move on! There are plenty of other tipsters out there that you can follow.

Matt: Do you think social media has had a positive impact on the tipster industry?

Pete: For those genuine tipsters, social media can be a useful way to notify followers of tips, to share information and interact with their audience and in that sense it helps.

On the other hand, I find social media to be a breeding ground for all kinds of bad tipster practice as it’s so easy to open a new Twitter or Facebook account claiming to be a betting guru. Most of them only make money through bookmaker affiliation when their followers post a loss and it’s something the authorities need to clamp down on. It’s illegal in many countries to earn money promoting a product or service without making it clear you have a vested interest.

Add into this the frankly ridiculous number of tipsters who claim to be able to win 10 bets on the run at short odds (a fool’s quest if ever there was one) and in many ways, social media hasn’t helped all that much.

Matt: What have been the biggest fundamental changes impacting punters in the past decade?

Pete: Certainly, the biggest change has been as regards racing punters when it comes to betting restrictions and closures.

You can still win money but depending on how much you stake, the sports you bet on and the tactics employed – these all have an impact on how long your accounts remain open for when betting on racing.

What started as a problem that impacted only high rollers at big stakes (and which the bookies denied took place) has become all too common-place.


Matt: How have restrictions and closures impacted your reviews and the tipsters you focus on?

Pete: With any racing tipster, it’s probably one of the most important considerations. For example, some racing tipsters that put up bets at 5/6pm the evening before racing offer little genuine chance for punters to get on in a sustainable way. Especially those tipping at the larger end of the market on horses the bookies are wary about money coming in for. The merest whiff of support for a horse at that time with the bookies will impact the odds and there is next to nothing available on the exchanges.

Instead, we focus on racing tipsters that put up tips you can realistically follow without too many issues. Our preference is for those sustainable, fair and practical services as whilst restrictions do exist, there are ways and means to prevent their impact for quite some time.

Naturally, we have also extended our focus on other sports like Football, Tennis & US Sports where this issue doesn’t exist. The odds in these markets are often extremely competitive and better value, plus of course – entirely sustainable as your account is less likely to get limited.

Matt: What are your thoughts on the promised changes to the bookmaking industry by the Gambling Commission?

Pete: They are long overdue as bookmakers have been getting away with murder for years. Whether it’s manipulating their terms and conditions to suit them, delaying or refusing withdrawal payments or encouraging problem gambling with the proliferation of FOBT machines.

This latter point is for me the kicker as it’s the only reason we have so many bookie shops open these days. Strict limitation on them might well force bookies to go back to taking bets.

Everything I hear tells me that change is coming and that the Gambling Commission (GC) in conjunction with the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) mean business. Let’s hope so and that the all-powerful bookmaker lobby doesn’t see these measures watered down.

Matt: Do you hold out much hope for a ‘right to bet’ law compelling all bookmakers to lay all punters a bet?

Pete: Not now as I think the GC and CMA are more focused on FOBT’s and bookie behaviour/customer service rather than a right to bet.

Ultimately, I think any campaign for a ‘right to bet’ will be a slow burner and may take more time and pressure before it is considered by the authorities.

Perhaps the most likely approach for change may lie from bookmakers themselves and if any other firms fancy following the lead of Black Type who promise to lay all punters up to £500 on racing. No doubt other firms are watching their business model to see how they fare and may well launch something similar in future if they feel there is a market.

Matt: Have you any thoughts on other sports or betting markets that punters impacted by restrictions could look into?

Pete: As previously mentioned, sports like Football, Golf, Tennis, plus all the various US Sports offer some very sustainable profits to punters with the right tipsters.

Very often the betting markets for these sports are super competitive with very tight margins, all of which works in the punters favour.

In fact, just this week I have been interviewing one American based SBC member who is unable to bet on racing, yet has still made $1m dollars betting with tipsters in the past 5 years. He is proof that betting with tipsters does not have to be limited to racing!


Matt: Looking forward, which other sports do you cover currently, and do you plan to focus more on them in the future?

Pete: Aside from those already mentioned we also cover tipsters providing advice on, darts, rugby, American football, baseball, ice hockey and basketball.

We do plan on covering more tipsters from these sports in the future, especially given the quality of expert we are currently tracking.

Matt: What developments do you expect to see in the betting world in the next few years?

Well I do expect to see more and more on e-sports in the next few years as it’s a rapidly growing market. Already I am proofing one clued-up e-sports tipster who has quietly been developing an impressive record. I expect more to come out of the woodwork soon!

Matt: Going back to your eleven years with SBC since 2006 – out of everything you have achieved, what are you most proud of?

Pete: Ultimately, it’s the fact that we have helped so many people make a profit from their betting through our advice, reviews and reports. There is nothing better than at the end of a hard day, picking up an email from someone thanking us for the difference we have made. It makes all the hard work worthwhile!

Matt: And finally, what are your plans for the future and the next 10 and the next 100 SBC magazines? 

Pete: In short – To keep on helping punters win and beat the bookies!

Just as over the last 11 years we have evolved and adapted our reviews to provide answers for punters in a changing betting world, so too will we moving forward.

The plan for the next 10 and 100 magazines is to keep uncovering more quality tipsters to provide even more choice and opportunity across a wide range of sports and markets. We will also be tackling the subjects that matter to punters, whether it be restrictions or even the use of automated software to help you bet – something we will be featuring in SBC 101. Yes, despite the ink barely being dry on SBC 100, already I am thinking of the next issue!

Matt &

My thanks to go Matt for taking the time to interview me and for his interest in the Smart Betting Club!

For those of you unfamiliar, Matt runs the very successful (and highly recommended by SBC readers, who voted it #1 betting website in our recent awards survey) website, which provides start of the art racecards, ratings, form tools, reports & much more besides.

New users can take a one month Geegeez Gold trial for just £1, or if you’d prefer to have a browse first, register here to get a free Gold feature daily plus full Gold access to selected races each day.

Get Your Hands On SBC 100 Right Away!

SBC Issue number 100 is out now and is available the instant you sign-up for a Smart Betting Club membership.

It’s available with our exclusive money back guarantee offer, which enables you to try out the service risk-free for 90 days.

What’s more, you can currently save up to £38 on the cost of subscription so don’t delay, sign-up here right now and let us help you get started betting better right away!

<< JOIN THE Smart Betting Club TODAY >>

See you on the inside.

Peter Ling
SBC Editor


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Cheltenham 2014 Tips: 4 of The Best Racing Experts Spill The Beans…

The greatest racing festival of all is now just a few days away and to further whet the appetite ahead of the start of Cheltenham this Tuesday, I have brought together a panel of 4 of the shrewdest racing brains to get their best Cheltenham 2014 Tips.

Fielding my questions were 4 times Racing Post naps champion and Easyodds columnist – Paul Jacobs, top racing writer and owner of the geegeez website – Matt Bisogno, SBC’s very own racing expert – Scott Armstrong and the highly-rated racing tipster – Rob from Pounds to Punters.

Below you can find out their 3 best bets for Cheltenham, their ‘darkhorses’ to watch, the short-priced faves they want to take on and much more besides…

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