When we first started betting on course four years ago it was a real eye opener. I soon learned that all the other books had to get the jolly in at any cost. I didn’t understand then and I still don’t now what the obsession of laying top of the market horses is when there is very little or no margin built into the price. This creates a very generous SP on these horses which in turn makes it very hard for the off course market to make horseracing pay particularly when they also offer best odds guaranteed. It seems a lot of companies are happy to have horseracing as a loss leader hoping their customers will bet on other sports or ideally their casino product where they are near on guaranteed to turn a profit.
Personally I’d much rather lay say £100 at 7/1 when its 9.6 on the machine than an even £700 when its 2.02 or less.
I appreciate before betting exchanges every on course bookmaker wanted a bit of favourite action and market forces produced the SP which still produced a good profit. Off course there were only early prices on handicaps and best odds guaranteed hadn’t reared its head so everything was fine and dandy.
With the imminent mass closures of betting shops there is going to be more pressure on the betting industry to maintain their level of contributions to the racing. Betting exchanges have created a zero profit margin product which the on and off course market follow intently. A solution could be to have a 5% deduction for all unlicensed betting exchange layers. The deduction would be on every winning horse race transaction which would go direct to the levy. This would produce prices which would be economically more viable not just for the on and off course bookmakers but for racing too.