Friday, 30 July 2010

bwin and PartyGaming merger finally on

Shares in the two firms jumped at least 20% yesterday with the long-awaited announcement of the merger.

Party Gaming, bwin Plan Gambling Merger

PartyGaming PLC plans to merge with Austrian sports-book operator Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, creating the world's largest listed online-gambling business.

The new company will be owned 48.36% and 51.64% by PartyGaming and Bwin shareholders respectively and will be listed on the London Stock Exchange. It would have a combined net gambling revenue of €682 million ($885.6 million) and combined earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of €196 million, PartyGaming said. Shares in PartyGaming jumped 20% Thursday, valuing the company at £1.26 billion ($1.96 billion), while Bwin shares soared 25% on the Vienna Stock Exchange, valuing the company at €1.58 billion.

Jim Ryan, Chief Executive of PartyGaming, and Norbert Teufelberger, co-CEO of Bwin, will run the merged group as co-chief executives. Mr. Teufelberger said his co-CEO at Bwin, Manfred Bodner, is to leave his position and become a nonexecutive director. Mr. Ryan said the merger will likely result in a newpublicly traded name with Bwin ultimately delisted.

sheer hypocrisy from Victor Chandler

Front page of today's Racing Post - "Chandler ups ante with levy pledge related to exchanges". The British betting industry's no.1 tax and levy dodger, Victor Chandler, who led the move to Gibraltar over a decade ago, has pledged to start paying levy on his offshore business if Betfair gets taxed/levied as he believes is right!

What right does he have to declare himself holier than thou? He currently pays levy on his ONE shop in London and his on-course racing business, which would hold a pittance in turnover compared to his Gibraltar business.

"The whole centre of the problem with the levy lies with betting exchanges," he says. This is the bloke who did a runner to Gibraltar in 1999 to avoid paying tax and levy in the first place. How can the system be screwed because of exchanges when tax-dodgers like him started the avoidance of levy before Betfair was even founded?

"I will make a promise today that if the BHA and the British government make the betting exchanges pay the correct amount of levy, and by that I mean ten per cent of all gross profits from every lay bet on exchanges, I will START paying the same levy tomorrow. I will also lobby all other offshore bookmakers to start paying the levy once more."

Again, the myth continues that there are thousands of unlicensed layers out there making huge amounts by laying every horse on Betfair. Try doing it in 100% markets, rather than at SP, and then paying commission and premium charge on top of that - it is nigh on impossible. It's about as realistic as the American 'Reds under the Bed' campaign in the 50s. Make enough noise about pure fiction and someone might eventually believe it.

Betfair's markets are not purely backers or layers. Why shouldn't I be able to back one horse and lay another?

"Oh sorry, you have to pay 10% extra for that bet sir"

"Oh well, I'll just back every other horse in the race then, using my spreadsheet to balance up the stakes. Exactly the same bet and no extra tax on that"

And, we all know, that a large chunk of exchange liquidity comes from traders - hundreds of them, backing and laying favoured horses with no opinion at all, just reading the market like a financial day trader. These guys provide strong liquidity on favourites in particular, which gives strength to the market, rather than allowing bookies to collapse the market and reduce their SP liabilities. Do we really want a return to the days where corporate bookies can destroy a market in the final couple of minutes to manipulate their own figures? The ring has to be stronger than the corporates, and at the moment, that is underpinned by Betfair.

Do Betfair pay the right amount of Levy? Perhaps not, but charging on the basis of individual customers is just plain wrong - these are the same guys who have been restricted/closed down by most other firms. And winning punters will have winning accounts with numerous firms, not just the one anyway.

Victor Chandler's advertising budget has obviously been cut so he needed to sprout some utter tripe to get himself on the front page again for free publicity.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

odd move by French authorities

The whole premise of French protectionism over gambling was to protect the PMU, the local racing tote which funds the local racing industry. The French government have shown their distaste for Betfair and exchange betting from day one, and fixed-odds betting on horse racing for any other operator has not been approved either. So in that case, why would they licence two competing pari-mutuel operators to bet on French horse racing? They won't be allowed shops which will mean pool liquidity can only struggle.

Geny Infos (genbet.fr) was last night granted a licence for pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, as was ZeTurf France (zeturf.fr), a company which have 'illegally' tried to compete with the PMU for many years. So they licence a firm which has consistently broken the rules in the past, and yet not Betfair who had made no attempt to target France until the last 18 months or so, before ceasing all activity there to conform with the new law.

Perhaps it's the government's way of saying we're happy to take these new totes' money to be granted a licence, but we think you have a snowball's chance in hell of making a profitable business out of it...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

German F1 preview

You can read my betting preview for today's race at Hockenheim on PuntingAce.

Season results so far can be found here.

Here's hoping for a bit of rain to spice up today's race!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

time for a change!

I was getting bored with the old layout, about time I had something fresh. Now if I could just find the right racing image to use as the background...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Horseracing must face commercial reality

While this article specifically refers to racing in the UK, there aren't many racing jurisdictions in the world that these issues don't apply to. From Global Betting and Gaming Consultants...

UK Horseracing Must Face Commercial Reality

Selected quotes


As we have said before the horse racing industry has wasted money, not allocated resource where it will deliver the best return and has not committed funds to reserves.

Now we have the recession. This one is called the Great Recession and it is causing business to really think about the way it operates and is creating efficiencies previously not considered. A recession exposes faulty business models and those who have not been prudent during the boom are being tested.

We are now in a period where the niceties of life have to be placed on one side. We are beyond politics now; it is the time when all sides have to be unfailingly realistic.

.
.
The problem is that racing many years ago started to believe its own PR that the product was infallible and that everyone would pay regardless of price.

.
.
Horseracing the world over is in decline. Most of us came into gambling because of horseracing. It is sad to see where it used to be as a betting product to where it is today.


Racing all over the world is full of people who live and bleed for horses, full of stubborn people, full of people who think they are more important than they really are and full of people from a bygone era. If it was a major publicly-listed company, do we really think it would be run the same way? Horse racing is losing its market share by the day, and realistically, it isn't going to get it back. If the business models continue in the forlorn dream that it can regain lost ground, then it's going to get messy...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

boxing is fixed - who'd have thought?

And Don King wasn't even involved. Australian boxer Danny Green sought an easy retention of his IBO cruiserweight title, lining up against four-years retired 'boxer' Paul Briggs. Briggs was allegedly paid $200k for the fight, yet went down to a punch most three-year olds would be embarrassed by, just 29 seconds into the first round. And everyone seemed to know about it too - some Australian bookmakers reported the price of R1 KO being smashed from 10.0 to 1.55!

Briggs' 29-second fiasco has bookies fearing a fix

BETTING agencies will today demand that the International Boxing Organisation launch an investigation into the farcical result of Danny Green's title defence in Perth last night against Paul Briggs, fearing a fix.

Green's angry reaction to Briggs's capitulation within 30 seconds rivalled that of the stunned audience's. Briggs went down to a glancing jab that appeared to hit his glove, not his head, and he stayed down for the full count. The fight was over in 29 seconds.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lodged with bookmakers yesterday on the result being a first-round knockout, and it's likely they will withhold payment until an investigation is concluded.


Watch the video on the link - it is farcical.

Will the IBO do anything about it? You've got to be kidding? A boxing organisation admitting that the sport is corrupt? That'd be like Gordon Brown or Kevin Rudd admitting he wasn't much good as Prime Minister....

And other reports on the farce -

Fight farce costs bookies $1m

Betting stink over fight farce

The WATAB was the hardest hit of the TAB agencies, with 85 per cent of its $450,000 wagered being targeted towards Green knocking Briggs out in round one. This is simply unheard of.

It was so hot the WATAB odds tumbled from $10.25 on Monday morning to $1.07 by fight time, the equivalent of Sydney recording a 45C day in the middle of July.

Read what you will into the super-slowmotion replay that suggests Green's knockdown of Briggs was legitimate, but the sheer volume of money on the round-one KO implies a very different story.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

abusing monopoly status is sure to interest the EU

Under the EU guidelines/legislation/regulations, EU member states are expected to allow gambling services from other EU members states unless they can prove the reason behind blocking them is social policy - namely protection of locals from the 'evils' of gambling. In countries like the Netherlands, this leads inevitably ends up being protect the local monopoly but ban all others - hardly social policy at all, just the protection of high margins which go directly into the state coffers.

Norway, and much of Scandinavia, attempts the same social policy - outlawing all competition in favour of the local high margin, state-owned operator Norsk Tipping. Studies around the world, in Norway and Australia in particular, have shown that problem gambling is most likely to originate from betting machines - called slots, pokies or fruit machines depending on where you live. In fact, just a few years ago, because 80% of problem gambling cases were coming from these machines, Norsk Tipping used their government links to have similar machines removed from bars and other venues in Norway - machines which were owned by charities and other companies, but not Norsk Tipping.

Fair enough, that seems to fit with social policy. But, in a 'brilliant' move from the Norsk Tipping CEO, he has now proposed to re-introduce them back into bars, all under the ownership of the state monopoly.

Sponheim wants slot machines in a pub

(Use Google Translate to read it in English if needed.)
.
.
.
"Local Democracy can stop this, we know. But now we try again, and I must say it is strange that they will stop this type of machine. The limit's not the internet for its citizens, that's where the dangerous play takes place, "said Sponheim.


Yes, of course the internet is evil. In gambling monopoly CEO terms, this means "Our website is crap, our margins are high and we don't offer poker, thus all our customers will go elsewhere because the internet gives them choice and the chance to actually win something"

Talk about an abuse of social policy. Cue the legal challenges in the EU being lodged very quickly.

common sense prevails over Paddy Power ad complaint

I'm glad this happened because if the wowsers got this one kicked off TV, then humour would never be allowed in advertising ever again.

ASA dismisses Paddy Power ad complaints

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has cleared a TV advertisement for Irish bookmaker Paddy Power that showed a game of football being played between two teams of blind men which ended with a cat being kicked into a tree, despite more than 1,000 complaints from viewers - one of the highest ever recorded by the ASA.

The TV ad showed a game of football being played by two teams of blindfolded men, using a ball which had a bell inside it. One player kicked the ball off the pitch and a cat, wearing a bell on its collar, ran on to the pitch. The referee was about to blow his whistle, when one of the men was shown taking a kick and a thud and a loud cat's meow was then heard - although no contact between the player and the cat was shown on screen (and the cat was shown to be fine afterwards, albeit high up a tree).



It's humour people, get a life. For those who live outside the UK and haven't seen it, here it is. Unfortunately columns on this blog template aren't wide enough to host it..

Monday, 19 July 2010

Monday news sweep

Veteran of the sportsbetting industry, WSEX, is allegedly going down according to Gambling911. Reports of their slow demise have been emerging for a while now, surely there comes a time when you just have to just pay up, and close down?

Australian telco Telstra is said to be discussing acquiring a 25% stake in racing TV network TVN according to sources. If so, that would certainly give them some teeth in resisting the anti-competitive we-wish-we-were-a-monopoly TABCorp-owned SkyChannel. And if the Anti-Competition Council get involved there, the Aus racing & broadcasting sector could be in for a major shake up. The chances of TVN's website getting a decent upgrade from the same replay technology they began with in about 2002? Crappy old Windows Media Player format that continually runs stop-start. Very slim...

Racing NSW still in the dark about technology, but it turns out the Japan Racing Association, supposedly the benchmark of integrity, isn't much further ahead.

And more from Bill Saunders about why Racing NSW have no idea what they are doing, and are too stubborn to back down. Peter V'Landys and Alan Brown need to learn how to play poker - being pot committed is the fast track to going bust...

Israel has announced it will ask ISPs to block foreign betting sites into the country. Quite ironic really, considering several big gambling firms including 888, have Israeli roots. Only local high-margin operators, licensed by the Israeli govt will be legally visible in the country.

William Hill may lose their sponsorship of Malaga in La Liga, after a change of owners. The Qatari consortium taking over are against gambling for religious reasons and wish to end the contract, which has 12 months remaining.

Friday, 16 July 2010

the Betfair float - is it finally here?

Peter Webb is reporting via rumours on SkyNews, that the float is set for the autumn.

There have been rumours around mentioning that period as time for the float... but the same could be said for a long list of dates over the past five years. Stay tuned for an announcement....

Here's more from SkyNews's Mark Kleinman.

It will be a quick turnaround to list as early as September, but in reality, they have been planning this for years, it was only a matter of when.

V'Landys and cronies are fiddling while NSW racing burns

The time of the most stubborn and incompetent racing administrator in the world is coming to an end. Defiantly, he still refuses to believe that a court could possibly rule against him and his policies which were proven in court to be discriminatory, and thus illegal. NSW Racing is being crippled by the amount of ridiculous legal fees this bozo and his board are wasting on cases they simply cannot win.

Contrast this rhetoric as dictated to TABCorp and Racing NSW's mouthpiece, the Daily Telegraph, with this analysis from Bill Saunders, an industry analyst who actually understands the principles of law and negotiation.

The Punters' Show on Racenet had an excellent interview with Andrew Twaits on the subject.

Finally the industry that V'Landys supposedly lives and breathes for has had enough, a vote of 'no confidence' in V'Landys and the Racing NSW board is set to be put forward at next week's board meeting.

Leading NSW trainer Gai Waterhouse said "It is really sad to see the discontent. Racing NSW are there to represent the participants but instead we are treated like children who have no idea of the business at hand. I am hopeful things will change in the near future. If trainers can have their say, they will get things done."

No doubt V'Landys will stubbornly refuse to step down until all the appeals, which will undoubtedly go against Racing NSW (the judge expressly told Betfair in his ruling that if they use information only available in the case against Sportsbet, then Betfair will win the case), by which case Racing NSW will need CPR to be saved.

Can he do a Robert Nason and jump ship to a cushy job at TABCorp before the government steps into sack him?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

the Harry Findlay case

I've waited until now to comment since his appeal is currently being heard. For those outside UK racing, this is the case where the biggest punter in the UK, one who trades, nearly every race, every day, was penalised for laying his own horse twice on Betfair. Harry owns (or at least did, until the initial ruling was made) a string of horses with various trainers around the country, and most notably is involved in Denman, the champion jumper.

Nobody will disagree that laying your own horse for profit is a bad thing which needs to be heavily punished. However that was not the case here. Both times Findlay had already backed his horse heavily and was reducing his risk by laying some of his outlay back. In both cases, he still wanted the horse to win overall.

Mark Davies has commented about the case today - here.

There are two camps of thought here - 1. that all betting against your own horse is evil and must be struck out, and 2. that one should only be punished if the owner/punter will reap a net profit from opposing his horse.

Idea #1 sounds simple enough.... but why should it only apply to lay bets on an exchange? If you own one horse is a race and back another, then by default, you can profit if your horse loses. For every back bet, there has to be a lay bet. If you back one horse, by default you are laying the field. If you lay one horse, then by default you are backing the rest of field to beat it. It is not a difficult concept.

But the racing authorities seem to think that corruption can only occur through betting exchanges which is the biggest furphy of all time. Corruption in racing has occurred since the first time they ever ran for a prize. If an owner bet on all the other horses in a race, against his charge, via other bookmakers, in cash or online, and via Betfair, but only BACKED the other runners, would he be penalised? Unless it could be proven the horse was pulled up, then no, he wouldn't - because backing other horses is perfectly acceptable...

It's a stupid rule which only satisfies those who scream about the supposed illegality of exchanges, yet does nothing to prevent the same actions occurring elsewhere, albeit where the perpetrator has to cop higher margins.


Idea #2 - only penalise the owner if they reap a net profit by opposing their own horse. Possible, but tricky. Very difficult to be able to record all the figures if it involves an owner using a bookmaker and an exchange. It could be done, but I can't see bookies being too keen on sharing the info. So it would have to be exchange trading only.

As I hinted on a few posts back, there are people who are allowed to lay their own horses - bookmakers. Under the terms of their licences, if there is anything untoward in those races, the racing authorities can see for themselves what the bookie has done.

So why not look at introducing a special traders' licence for those major punters/owners who bet heavily as a business? Findlay has always been open about the activity on his account, took responsibility for errors made on his account by people who work for him. and never denied the fact that he owned the horses, even though they were all registered in his mother's name. Any additional income for racing will be welcomed and the policing part of it will still be done by Betfair. Such persons going for this type of licence would not have the same privileges as a bookmaker - able to set their own rules, handle other punters' money and advertise their services - so the fee shouldn't be too ambitious - after all, they want people to sign up to this, not hide their activities from them.

It's at least worthy of consideration because all the current rule has done is rob racing of one of its biggest ambassadors over, what is in the grand scheme of things, a rather trivial event.

Monday, 12 July 2010

trader's dream - 1.01 both sides in a tennis match



ATP Bastad - Pere Riba leads 5-2 in the third set, and trades at 1.01.



Peter Luczak fights back and leads 6-2 in the breaker.

Riba fights back and wins 4/6 6/2 7/6 (8)

Images captured at 6-5 in the tiebreak...

Did I lay both players at very short odds? No, but did lay them at 1.52 and 1.11 respectively for a nice profit anyway.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

World Cup match-fixing allegations

Back page of the Racing Post today reports that a UEFA investigator has claimed Nigerian players were 'vulnerable to manipulation' - i.e. potential targets for match-fixing at the World Cup.

One would think that was pretty bloody obvious. Based on the political reaction after the World Cup - banning the Nigerian team from major tournament for two years (soon rescinded), it's pretty obvious that the whole system there is a shambles, and thus a team such as that COULD be open to such a thing, especially when their final match had no upside for them - they couldn't make the next round. But the gambling world is extremely tight and well monitored these days. When something is up, it gets magnified exponentially, and there are certain teams & players where the first sign of trouble will cause bookies to switch the match off or slash limits right back. Nigeria is one of those teams.

FIFA and bookmakers have dismissed the allegations as having no substance.

Friday, 9 July 2010

over-rated stories of the week

Le Bron James

Paul the bloody octopus

and yet more fabricated Steven Gerrard scandal rumours

yawn, yawn, yawn.....

Thursday, 8 July 2010

is this really a good idea?

Serie B is renowned as one of the dodgiest football leagues in the world. Any football punter with an eye on Europe will recall numerous end-of-season matches with arranged results - convenient draws played out after club presidents do favours for their mates as teams pull all the strings they can to avoid relegation.

So the last thing you'd think was a good idea is a betting company becoming naming rights sponsor of the league.....


Italy's Serie B rebranded as Serie bwin


July 7 (Reuters) - Italy´s second tier Serie B has been rebranded Serie bwin after a two-year sponsorship deal was signed on Wednesday with Austria-based internet betting firm bwin.

The deal, announced in a Serie B statement, will bring much-needed revenue to a division which has been under severe financial pressure for several years.

Serie B will run its own affairs this season after the top-flight Serie A broke away from the two-division professional league.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

low quality events mean dodgy dealings

As I discussed in the previous post about the Levy Board and too many racing fixtures in the UK, when too much of a sport is on offer, the quality suffers. And when the quality suffers, often so does the integrity.

This week we have the ATP event in Newport, a really poor standard tournament, the only one on grass after Wimbledon and it clashes with Davis Cup as well, so few decent players bother and most European challengers would have better R1 matches. So far this week, we've had Richard Bloomfield, a British qualifier ranked outside the top 500, with a 1-10 record in ATP events backed off the map yesterday against Christophe Rochus, a veteran who has been losing R1 of Challenger level events lately.

(Forum extract) "Rochus topping up the pension fund yet again. Bloomfield odds plummeted from evens to 1.25 before the match. $1.4 million matched on betfair, and nearly every bookie pulled the market. Was funny inplay, Bloomfield was something like 1.20 to win 2-0 even while it was on serve in the first set."

Bloomfield's only other win at ATP level was a couple of yrs ago at Wimbledon when he played Carlos Berlocq, and similar betting patterns occurred. NOTE there are no allegations here against Bloomfield, it's just coincidence he has faced two guys with no interest whatsoever in winning, they just turned up unfit and claimed their R1 loser's cheque.

Today's "only one result" match is Go Soeda v Brian Dabul.



Doesn't look like Mr Dabul will be trying too hard...

Or perhaps he was... Dabul won 7-5 6-2. I didn't catch the live trading of the match, but perhaps it was a 'spoofed' market where a big punter systematically crushed the price on Betfair and a few other bookies, sending the price on Soeda tumbling, and then all the sheep came in and forced the price down, down, down enabling the punter/syndicate to trade out for a very handy profit....

Levy Board in desperate grab for cash

Today's article on the Press Association wire highlights how desperate they are for cash as their levy shrinks....

Levy Board to consult over exchanges

The Levy Board has begun a consultation process relating to the issue of whether certain users of betting exchanges should pay levy on their activities.



While this sounds logical enough, it's completely pointless. This has been examined over and over. Anyone that tries exclusively laying on Betfair won't be living off it. Bookmakers can't do it on-course with higher margins, so how is someone at home going to do it when the prices are always better? Sure, you can lay something they mightn't be able to lay on course, but when you have to lay 5/2 rather than 7/4, that's hardly going to be profitable in the long run.

The two types of Betfair customer who do make money on racing are the new types - ones which aren't taking anything away from traditional betting revenue streams, because they simply weren't there in the past. These are the pre-race traders using software like Bet Angel, and the in-running traders. Not everyone who tries it wins, but it does have a higher success rate than most forms of punting. But what is the logic in trying to charge these people on their profits? Does racing charge professional punters on their winnings? Nope. So why should people who use more modern services and technology be charged because they have evolved and prefer to shun bookmakers who tend to shut down winning accounts?

Why isn't the Levy Board working harder to chase bookmakers who move their internet operations offshore purely to dodge tax and levy? Probably because the board and Racing For Change has strong connections to the bookmakers, as alluded to here.

Betfair's legal director, Martin Cruddace, said: "We're very surprised by the Levy Board's announcement. This issue of whether betting exchange customers are acting as bookmakers has been the subject of debate since Betfair started.

"After a thorough, independent review of this very issue throughout 2004 and 2005, the Treasury came to the conclusion that the treatment of betting exchanges and their customers was fair. Since then, there has not been one scrap of evidence produced by anyone to suggest the situation has changed.

"We are extremely interested to see if the Levy Board is able to run a fair and impartial consultation process bearing in mind that several of their members have publicly stated positions that would seem to prejudge any outcome."


The whole system is disjointed. Racecourses will happily accept sponsorship from firms who dodge levy or aren't even based in the UK to begin with. And then they all cry poor because the prizemoney isn't enough? I'm glad they have finally decided to start dropping fixtures from the calendar. There are so many low quality meetings being held that do nothing for the sport. Just because a horse has four legs does not mean it has right to run on a racecourse. If it useless, then it should be pulling a cart or be someone's pet. An overpopulation of below average horses is not a good thing - it doesn't pull the crowds and it doesn't excite punters. The only thing it does do is make the (bigger) breeders rich because their stallions are servicing far too many mares.

Betfair further responded by redirecting some of their voluntary contribution into more direct measures...

“Today’s announcement by the Levy Board, together with the statement from Nic Coward of the BHA, illustrates exactly why we have redirected our voluntary levy payment. We have not withdrawn this money from British Racing; we have withdrawn our donation to the Levy Board and BHA,” said Betfair’s Cruddace.

Cruddace said the money was being redirected to make sure it is spent on delivering real benefits to the sport, rather than being “diluted by middlemen and the accompanying costs that cover their salaries, pensions contributions and the substantial legal bills incurred in a sustained and discriminatory attack on our business”.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Wimbledon finals form

Preview of mine as posted by Betfair Australia...

Wimbledon finals form

trading drunk is a bad idea

Most people will agree that coming home after a few beers, then trying to have a few bets on US racing, or poker, or anything for that matter, is usually destined for failure. But why let it stop at just your own money... why not go the whole hog and do it properly?

Don't Trade Drunk

Most of us have done some pretty daft things while drunk, but I bet you've never accidentally bought over £325m of oil. That's what City trader Steve Perkins did exactly one year ago today, in an evening he will never (be allowed to) forget.


At least he could trade out of it for a relatively small loss, short-term markets/events don't grant you that option.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

exchange betting heading to New Jersey racing?

Racing in many states of the US is really struggling. The Off-Track Betting (OTB) of New York is millions in debt (how you can run a monopoly tote at a loss is beyond belief), broadcast rights are a mess, politicians in Arizona thought it was a great idea to ban online betting altogether, Californian racetracks are being sold off to property developers or lobbying to increase takeout rates and trainers who are banned for doping offences in one state can simply up sticks and move to another. With the exception of a handful of tracks, it's a basket case.

New Jersey moves forward with betting exchange plans


This week New Jersey state assembly unanimously voted (78-0) in favour of a bill that would authorise a Betfair-style betting exchange for state residents on horse racing. Like everything in the US, it's restricted by state, but..

"The bill also provides that exchange bets submitted on a given market on the exchange in New Jersey may, under approved conditions, be matched with exchange bets on the same horse race or set of horse races submitted by residents of jurisdictions outside of the state to an authorised exchange operator in that jurisdiction."

meaning if they wanted to, they could partner up with Betfair and A - get them to run it, because they know how to do it, and B - it could link up with Betfair's US racing markets available to the rest of the world, so there is genuine liquidity in the markets.

Also, from NJ approves exchange-style wagering

"Language in the bill calls for money generated from exchange wagering to be committed to state tracks and horsemen but it is not specific. The bill does call for a review of the initial agreement in 2014 at which time the state’s horsemen will have the option to modify it."

The involvement of the state's horsemen is worrying because in virtually every other state they have been dead against any reduction in tote takeouts which according to just about every business study ever commissioned, will lead to higher turnover and thus greater profits. Horsemen are not businesspeople, they are predominantly stubborn folk stuck in the past.

This is a promising development for wagering in the US, but once the proposal starts gathering momentum, wait for the lobbying from the anti-factions over the old chestnut of laying a horse to lose, all stakeholders wanting too much out of the deal thus making the whole point of exchange betting (low margins) a waste of time, and then probably some more stupid politics from another state.

Too many fingers in the pie will bring it down. Exchange betting with 15% commission won't work.




NB To my American readers, please feel free to pick me up on any factual errors or misconceptions in the opening paragraph.