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Taking a quick look on social media or various gambling forums you would be forgiven for thinking that a punter’s life was an easy one. In truth the reality is far from the myth that punting can bring an immediately successful champagne lifestyle on the back of winnings. Yes, there are opportunities our there and still an enormous amount of pleasure to be had both following horse racing and punting either as an amateur or professional. As the industry has shifted and tech innovation disrupted the equilibrium, we examine how things have changed and how platforms such as Beth.bet allow smart insights like never before and can help turn things around if you are stuck in something of a betting rut.

In this post:

The ending of the Golden Exchange Age

When Betfair arrived in 2000 it started a “golden age” for punters, with the ability to play into near 100pc books (plus commission) tempting thousands of people to have a go at turning their “hobby” into something more professional. There then followed an explosion in betting companies springing up everywhere, fighting for turnover by offering prices as close as possible (or bigger) than the ‘machine.’ The competition for business saw comparison sites such as Oddschecker squeezing more and more companies into grids that never ever got close to 100pc on almost every market. This was a real opportunity that plenty seized upon, with prices often wildly out from the final price, and value (price discrepancies) very easy to find. Obviously, this was not a viable business model for bookmakers, and they became very quick to restrict and limit anyone who was regularly beating the price.

This age of opportunity is now firmly over. The small bookmakers have gone bust or been swallowed up, and the premium charge introduced by Betfair seemed to suggest the “winners are welcome” slogan did not apply anymore. It seems now virtually impossible to maintain an account with any firm if you are consistently winning on any scale, or even just beating the prices/SP over a ridiculously short space of time. Firms have given up trading markets and now make sure they manage and control accounts strictly and ruthlessly. The modern punter needs to be aware of this and tailor his betting habits accordingly.

Traders now justify their position in the company by monitoring, checking IP addresses for matched accounts, speaking to other layers to check the credentials of punters, and immediately factoring anybody with more than two brain cells to the point where it is meaningless to try and have a bet at all. The firms where you can still get a win bet (usually on the show prices when the markets are more settled), offer prices that are very uncompetitive and always beneath the freely available exchange price.

It has become a very hard task to a) find any value away from the morning markets or b) get on in any meaningful size. There is little point in spending hours pouring over videos and formbooks to discover the “right answer” to a complex equation, when making that knowledge pay is impossible.

Firms are less willing to bet their traders opinions, with automated pricing from the exchanges taking over completely

In the past, firms employed a large number of experts in the field (plenty of whom were probably punters themselves), and allowed them plenty of rope to offer their own prices in reasonable size. The arrival of exchanges over 20 years ago changed all that, and many of the big firms are now completely automated (i.e., taking their prices directly in real-time from Betfair). This has created plenty of opportunities however, and Beth.bet can certainly assist in finding excellent value in the early markets (with the liquidity on the exchanges very low and the prices offered based on a few pounds of transactions). The real market close to the off of each race is a very accurate guide to the true chance of every horse winning that race and beating the final Belfair SP remains the best way for successful punters to gauge how successful their punting will be over time. Using the Beth.bet unique filters, astute punters can certainly hone in and find that value on a regular and consistent basis.

Nearly every angle and edge are now covered on the exchanges

The absence of bookmakers entertaining the professional accounts now means that the exchanges are a shark-infested pit of the longest surviving brains in the game. There are very few naive punters swimming in these waters anymore, and the “mug money” of the past has long since gone or been diverted onto the sportsbook (winners most definitely not welcome there).

The early morning markets on the exchange are extremely thin, and plenty of price manipulation in an attempt to steer those firms pricing up in the morning (from Betfair) onto the rocks. This has in turn led to a loss of confidence in the product of racing altogether…with accountants quick to notice unprofitable areas of business and keen to strictly limit the size of bets accepted and from whom.

Close to the off on the exchanges the market is still very vibrant and liquid but at the same time, the prices are now a very accurate guide as to what is likely to happen. There is simply very little juice in playing at the right prices (less commission) and shrewd judges have found that the hard work that goes into gaining an “expert” opinion on racing is not turning into long term profit. It has become a teeth grinding battle, but certainly by using Beth.bet it is very possible to quickly find value among the morning prices every day of racing. If you can keep finding accounts across the numerous bookmakers, you will generate decent long-term profits.

Part of the problem is that, in this information age virtually everything is transparent and out in the open. While this openness is welcome in many ways, there is little doubt that it has removed plenty of edges that “professionals” used to hold over the less informed public at large. By using Beth.bet even a recreational punter (with little time to spare) can make his betting disciplined and successful, without having to spend hours and hours watching the form or studying videos of races in the more traditional way.

Guaranteed profits from casinos and FOBTs have made bookmakers risk averse in more uncertain markets like racing

Bookmakers, who for many years tolerated and managed some winners on their books as a mark or a guide, are now just arcades making large profits from risk free games and no longer needing the expensive business of trading complex events. This complete change of business plan in the past decade has made life much harder for those trying to make regular profits from betting on horse racing. Some have become more innovative in how they “get on” and try to get past the barrier to betting that is now in place pretty much across the industry.

One very shrewd group now employs a small army of “putter onners”, who are on call every day to go round betting shops trying to sneak under the radar by playing in cash. Indeed, this is something that punters using Beth.bet might like to consider occasionally, using the unique algorithm to play largely undetected in cash in their local betting shops (taking the morning prices without being tracked by an online account).

Clearly while the online revolution opened a huge world of opportunities for punters, it has also made their business extremely easy to track and monitor and (most pertinently) restrict. Most professionals have long since run out of friends to open accounts for them with all the firms and are left swimming with the rest of the sharks on Betfair. It has become a game of survival of the fittest and new edges and angles are extremely hard to find.

Keeping a sense of perspective and complete control of your betting

Twenty years ago, the professional punter was a middle-aged man shuffling around the racetracks in a large overcoat and a paper form book under his arm. Now he is likely to be only 20 or 30 years old, tech savvy and extremely switched on.

Using the Beth.bet algorithm and understanding the data can still give you an edge over the bookmaker, locating where the value lies in the early prices on offer on every race every day. It is a great one-stop shop resource and is clearly a lot easier and stress free to locate value in the early markets. This can turn your betting around without having to navigate multiple platforms and form guides. The record keeping is also done for you and being able to see where you are most successful is extremely helpful (and which bookmakers offer the best service in terms of prices and account longevity).

At some point in any punter’s life, however successful he is at betting for a living, real life will intervene. This comes as a shock to many and doesn’t fit into a computer program of probable outcomes.

Keeping a balance and retaining perspective is very important with betting and using the Beth.bet algorithm is undoubtedly a fantastic help in staying in complete control of your betting, and crucially making it a long-term profitable experience.

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