Recently Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook took the bold decision to have their own betting shows right up to the off on UK horse racing. They are still using the official SP so the majority of recreational punters won’t be adversely affected if they are on at best odds guaranteed. This is a clever move as it will prohibit customers constantly nicking prices when they can see the exchange price is less than the show beamed back from the course. Basically they are cutting out the middleman where on course bookies track the betting exchanges themselves and the results of which are sent back to the industry; there is obviously a time delay in this process which allows the arbers to get on whereas if they are tracking the exchange themselves they are ahead of the game.
Will the industry follow in their footsteps?…quite possibly as this will undoubtedly improve margins. The current system is somewhat archaic and the sample of bookmakers that are being used to make the prices are not always a fair reflection of the betting ring. When we are on course we can see the prices on the big screen and invariably they are bigger than what we’ve got on our board. The on course bookies will be worried about the possible change as they get around £25 each a meeting for the use of the data on their boards and a few bookies benefit from laying to off course firms to get certain horses shortened. This in turn would probably lead to an industry SP which has to be the way forward long term.
There will be more pressure from the racing industry to get more money off the bookmakers in the months and years to come as it is generally perceived that their product is being used as a loss leader by a lot of the firms who are happy to steer their customers on to their more profitable on line casinos and in play books. With the online casinos now being linked to massive restrictions on stakes firms are going to have to be more sensible with the offers and betting margins they have been giving on horse racing which in turn should be good news for the racing industry as obviously the bookies contributions are linked to profits on their product.