how to choose best horse racing bookmaker

Reliability, security, and a long-established proven track record over the years

Above anything else, a punter needs to feel confidence with the bookmaker he is betting with. The more established firms such as William Hill and BetVictor have several decades of experience in the business, a fixed rule book and efficient financial transaction practices. There is never any doubt about getting paid and any disputes are dealt with rationally. With some of the newer, fly-by-night operators this is not the case, and punters still need to tread warily with their cash. As the recent case of Bodugi illustrates, all that glitters is not always gold, and the bigger, established companies are generally a safer bet for a punters’ cash. Furthermore, some of the newer companies, often based in largely unregulated outposts, have some strange practices particularly when it comes to withdrawing money after a winning bet. Several punters have found very long delays before their money reappeared, with documentation often requested and many hoops to jump through before they finally receive what is due to them. It is always worth reading the small print before opening up a new account and, especially where horse-racing is concerned, it is probably safer to stick to the bigger, well founded bookmakers with clearly defined rules and practices.

Competitive pricing on all the races each day and a fair size of bet offered

Any bookmaker should be up by 11am at the latest with every race priced up and a reasonable bet size offered. Clearly no-one can expect to get thousands on a low-grade seller on a Monday morning with very little form to go on, or fortunes on each-way where there is an odds-on favourite (and the place terms are massively tilted in the punters favour). Also, any punter who only plays when there is an “arb” with Betfair is not going to get a very good service from any layer, but these are often offered as an excuse by some bookmakers as to why they play so timidly and have little faith in their own prices. The exchange age has made pricing up a largely automated process, with a large number of price changes (usually shortening up) from a turnover on betfair in relatively tiny amounts of cash. The truth is most bookmaker prices on racing are purely the exchange price minus a few ticks, with little or no traders actually employed to come up with the prices in the first place. With liquidity minimal in the mornings, clearly, they are ripe for being picked off by astute players (who themselves can manipulate the exchange prices to pull the sheep-like bookmakers one way then another) and this has led to a wholesale loss of confidence in the racing product. This has made getting on in the morning a very tricky process, particularly if you open up a new account and are immediately backing solely horse racing early on in the day. Beth.bet punters should try and vary their betting habits, perhaps playing a few small stakes multiple bets on football on a Saturday to disguise the true nature of their betting business.

Some companies do still stand a fair bet, and again punters can expect to get decent bets on with the likes of William Hill and VCbet and also there are decent reports about bet365, BetWay and Betfred if the business is genuine and non-arb. On the shows closer to the off nearly all internet firms are willing to play in bigger size, but by that point the prices tend to be “right” and the liquidity on the exchange itself is much more established (and an accurate guide to the horse’s true chance of winning).

All raced priced up early in the morning and full standard each-way terms available

This is now fairly commonplace across all the firms and is the big advantage that any punter holds…the layers have to offer prices on every race, while the informed backer can pick his punches and specialize in races where they are expert, or where the excellent Beth.bet algorithm pinpoints the value. Furthermore, the dated each-way terms are very often firmly in the backer’s favour, particularly in uncompetitive 8 runner races (1/5 the odds 1,2,3) or in 16 runner handicaps (1/4 the odds 1,2,3,4). Some companies such as Bet365 offer prices up the night before on certain races and these are a very good hunting ground for the astute, with the exchange market non-existent and the layers completely in the dark as they search for prices. Clearly the size of wager is strictly limited, and regular winners are likely to be factored quickly, but nonetheless this is an important area that can be exploited by racing punters. 

Best odds guaranteed can make a huge difference to punter profitability over time

“If you take a price and the returned SP is bigger you get the SP”. This offer is a terrific one for punters and can make a massive difference in profitability over time of your betting account. Many firms offer BOG as a standard on all new accounts, but it

does not always last very long if the bookmaker feels the business is too warm or informed. For Beth.bet subscribers opening up new accounts with all the firms, it is well worth seeking out, with rapid price fluctuations close to the off of the races meaning that the morning prices can be massively out of sync by post time. From a bookmaking point of view, if they lay a completely “wrong price” in the morning i.e., 14/1 about a 6/1 chance by the off, it effectively means they cannot win on the race, with an overbroke book at the best prices (even before you get to the place market). 

Bookmakers still offering “BOG” are likely to become harder and harder to find, as margins are squeezed, and traders come under pressure. There are still plenty of the bigger companies such as Paddy Power who offer it as standard, and it can make a big difference to overall profitability for any backer. Beth.bet subscribers should take full advantage and seek out bookmakers who offer best odds guaranteed, especially on busy Saturday’s where the late markets can change the prices dramatically as the turnover arrives close to the off.

Enhanced place terms, special offers and regular price boosts

The firms are now fighting a daily battle in the PR world, with new accounts sought after and brand loyalty demanded by the number crunchers who now call the shots at the top of the bigger firms. Corals now have daily “price bombs” where they offer well over

the odds-on favourites for a limited time (usually in their shops), while Paddy Power rarely seem to let an hour go by without enhancing the place terms or offering some excellent value around fancied runners. Obviously, these “specials” tend to be in recreational size of around £25, but it is well worth being in a position to take advantage.  At the Cheltenham Festival in March the price war competition saw over-broke books on every single race, with the best prices offered nowhere near 100pc at any time when compared on the price grids. While on the Grand National in the past, Ladbrokes offer of 16-1 the field in the morning was a full four points over the betfair price on two of the leading contenders. Clearly this willingness to take on the dominance of the machine is welcome, and likely to lead to better value for all punters.

Beth.bet punters should have a large number of bookmaker accounts primed, only play at the top prices offered as instructed by the unique algorithm and be in a position to pounce quickly when these offers are put up.

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