Today on the Smartersig email group a member relayed a very worrying story of how he was invited by email to place a bet with a VERY large high street bookmaker. If he did this they promised a free bet to the same value (max £100). He decided to have £17.77 EW on a 12/1 shot as this was all he had in the account. The horse won and it wasn’t long before he got a following email saying his account was closed. Now we all know this is hardly surprising but their was an extra sting. The bad blokes at the bookmakers told him they were also withdrawing the free bet. Now it may well be that there is some clause in the T&C that allow them to do this but I cannot believe that this kind of T&C should not be challenged. It’s an utter disgrace that the bookmaking industry can fall to this level. When I first came into betting some 30 or more years ago the general feeling amongst punters was that the bookmaker always wins. But this feeling was down to the fact that we felt that the odds were stacked against us or we as punters lacked discipline. You rarely heard punters saying that bookmakers were cheating punters. The opinion out here now has certainly changed. Punters are feeling that the current behaviour of bookmaker’s go’s well beyond simply offering poor prices and tempting punters into the wrong races. Perhaps it is because bookmakers get such generous returns from FOBT machines that they now do not really need to try too hard on the racing front.
So what can you the punter do ?. I made good profits from betting with bookmakers through the noughties but then as things got tighter I became tired of chasing around trying to get bets on. I therefore turned my attention to exchange betting. Betting on the exchanges is a different animal and requires a change in approach. What you found may work with bookmakers and early morning prices may not work on the exchanges. This does not mean that you cannot cut a decent profit on the exchanges, after all a market that has a 1% overround is certainly surmountable. Remember there are American pro punters who bet into a 17% takeout with no knowledge of what their final price will be. The key for me is to switch to a lower return but higher turnover model coupled with an automated form of betting. It took me about 12 months to make the switch and I now bet solely on Betfair using my own ratings and market analysis. The first step is to make sure your data analysis includes Betfair SP at the very least.