This week I did something I promised I would never do…… I got into a twitter ‘spat’.
Well it was probably more of a ‘strong debate’ than a spat, but it was on a subject that matters a lot to me: bookmakers and how they treat punters.
The bookie in question was Stan James and my ‘opponent’ their head of PR – Rory Jiwani. Now for all intents and purposes, Rory is a nice bloke and he deserves credit for being one of the few people to actually try and discuss issues that few other bookie reps actually will.
My challenge to Rory was how can he defend his bookmaker (Stan James) who are routinely one of the most complained about bookmakers amongst our members. This is backed up by stats whereby they were ranked 26th out of 27 major football bookies and 16th out of 19 major racing bookies, according to 2 large recent SBC members surveys.
Part of the reason for their lowly rating is their apparent clampdown on winning punters accounts as 52.29% of respondents in our recent horse racing survey had their Stan James account closed down. This was by far the worst stat for closures and I was keen to find out why Stan James had so little time for anyone making a semblance of profit! Why were they so different from many other bookies and not keen to lay a bet?
Ultimately, my quest for answers was not fruitful (no big surprise!), but it helps raise a very serious topic once again…that the bookie is not your friend.
Prepare for Battle!
This is a drum I continue to repeatedly beat as there are very few voices out there who are willing to tell it like it is. SBC are an exception to this and are always looking to represent our members! Always remember, betting is a clear battle between bookie and punter and the lines should not be easily blurred.
The bookmaker only makes money when you lose (and vice versa) so therefore should always be treated with huge scepticism when they try and appear friendly.
Take for example, Bet365 and their in-play adverts featuring Ray Winstone. At Half-time during live football matches, Ray regularly pipes up with a suggested bet for you to ‘have a bang on’.
Sadly as this Daily Mirror article outlines, these bets are less bang and most bust with just 1 in 25 actually going on to win. No doubt the Bet365 coffers have been suitably swollen by this stat!
Similarly Betfred love to make a song and dance about their ‘Goals Galore’ offer, yet back in 2010 these bets lost them a sizeable amount of money. No doubt heads rolled (bald heads presumably) and the upshot was that they returned with worse odds and an increase in the min number of selections from 2 to 3. Making it difficult for anyone to realistically profit from long-term.
Take a peak in any bookmaker shop window and chances are you will see a bet advertised such as 14-1 on a team X to beat team Y by 2 goals to 1. These bets are being pushed your way for no other reason that they make the bookies money (as you will ultimately lose long-term).
Of course there are some notable exceptions to this rule (the likes of Pinnacle Sports) but when talking about the majority of bookies, you should be very wary!
Be Wary Of Those Too Close To Bookies
As well as being sceptical of the bets they bookies push on you, some further advice is to be wary of anyone too cosy with the bookmakers. What side after all are they on – yours or theirs?
For example, if a website or newspaper is funded by bookmaker adverts, how objective can they really be?
Will they report back on a negative story about a bookie if it might cost them a few grand (or more!) in advertising?
Probably not, but as punters we have a right to ask difficult questions and take the battle to the bookies.
Independent Bookmaker Guides
Here at the Smart Betting Club we are proud to be able to provide independent reviews on bookmakers (they are 100% independent as we are funded by our members, not them).
This has allowed us to produce our 2 independent guides to both racing and football bookmakers, which provides an honest assessment of the best (and worst) bookies out there.
This includes details on some of the lesser-known football and racing bookmakers you SHOULD be betting with, that can make a big difference to your profits.
Both these independent bookmaker guides come free with your Smart Betting Club subscription.
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