Dealing with big punters
You’ve definitely got to respect the money. It’s a game of hot potato. I think the best thing too, is when you do take on smarter money, being the trader, I think some of the times you get directions from people who probably haven’t been on a trading floor before and they probably don’t understand that if you can actually take on professional money, it can actually help you in the process as long as your trade is efficient.
That’s the reason why, I think, the markets are what they are today, because people don’t really want to bother with that, with the risk, that the trader may get it wrong, and they think, “Well, that’s a positive figure,” so that’s why they run with it, but personally I prefer to take on the smarter money.
It happens still on the racecourse today, and those guys still keep turning up, so if you’re good enough at doing the trade, I think it’s very much in your interest to, at least, take on for an amount because you’re still going to get an indication of where the markets going to head, because at the end of the day for me, it’s all about getting to where the market is going to be, because of the efficiency of the SP over time.
You’ve got a great lead on where are they going to go, because if a professional is going to back a second favourite or a favourite, they’re not going to back the other one. They’re not going to back them both, so you’ve definitely got a lead on where the market’s at. If you’re good enough to trade out and get some more on well you’re in a good position to get a really strong outcome on your books should the professional money to be right.
Minimum bet limits for bookmakers
I certainly can’t see it being a negative for the business, because I think the traders, if they’re good enough would actually be able to use that very well to their advantage. You only have to bet to win one person, it’s not like you’re betting ten people at once. If ten people come at the price you’re only going to bet one to win 2000 anyway, and then turn it off, and that is a strong push.
Then you go back and reassess your market if you can’t trade out, then you only stand once for 2000 going into a Saturday, so the amount I don’t think is that big a deal.
I’ve seen some blokes get accounts closed, and I’m thinking, “Jeez, I wouldn’t have done that,” but people do it with winning days.
There are meetings where favourites get up. You’ve just got to be able to assess the punter and to me it’s more of the patterns that fit, not the results that they get, that really holds them count and how they begin to turn out. Then, I’ve seen winning clients who been going on and they won six weeks in a row, only to lose it all in one week, because that’s how the losing punter really works, it’s not so much how they win, but when they actually end up losing and they lose it pretty quick.
So the smarter punters will always be structured, they don’t panic, they don’t chase, they are very good and well-mannered and to me that’s more the pattern that I look for. It’s not so much the results I get, but also it’s the price variance that they do get. Of course, that’s important. If they take 8’s on something that starts at 5’s okay, we’ve got an issue.
But if next one goes 5’s to 8’s and they are on at the 5’s, well, to me that’s not a problem. Because you’ve got to admit it too, at the end of the day, the bookmaker’s got all the power in its hands percentage wise, to get by on the winning side.
At the end of the day too, his business is what I’m saying, can actually benefit the bookmaker as well, by saying, “Okay, we’ve got a good one, but we’ll keep him in our pocket, and we’ll get the lead up where the market’s at, because at the end of the day … Here’s a case study for you, there’s a bookmaker that took a bet on Saturday and he took $5000 to $800 a horse and he was able to bet it back $10,000 to $1600.
So he’s on to win $5000, the smart money’s on, the horse got heavily backed and at the end of the day, the horse didn’t win, but over time, he knows that guy can win over a period. The bookmaker has now won himself by playing the smarter money. It’s very much being able to spot the client and respect the client but also to be able to handle the money, know how to do it, and have the experience and the knack for how to handle it.
I think it’s been a great innovation to racing. I think, what it’s done too, it’s actually helped the on-course punter. When I used to bet on track when there was no Betfair you’d probably bet down to 120%. When the market got to 115% the fire alarm nearly went off.
Now, you’ve got situations, where your top fluc can go under 100% and your SP can be around 104%. Because the bookmakers are more confident to push out a price given that they have the professional knowledge that lies in Betfair in those markets.
To me, I think Betfair actually has given the punter a really good product to drive them forward, because it’s actually made the market more confident for both bookie and punter. The punter’s seen the money counts as something, and going with it. The bookmaker saying what the price is on the exchange, and actually get his prices out to that as well.
There’s plenty of benefits. I think the first one that comes to mind is your ability to have a credit facility. When you settle at the end of the week, the bookie knows you and you know him, you’ve got a private relationship. You can always, when you’ve got a credit facility, and you’re short one week, you can actually arrange to make payments, let people talk to you one-on-one.
Like I said it’s very personal. You still get to bet the cash and get paid cash. People enjoy that. Not only all the buzz and excitement, but also the war of punter vs bookie. It’s always been a great duel. To me, it’s just the colour of the action, that really gets people going in there. I think from personal experience, a bit of fun, I think it’s a lot better. Myself, I like betting with an on-course bookie because I always get the fraction which always helps, and you’re able to have a bit of a relationship on-course, which is always good.
Modern form analysis
I like the fact that a lot of these form companies now, they come in it with their apps, people walking around race courses, they go with performance ratings in their hands, they’ve got speed maps in their hands; things that you’d probably have to sit up on a Friday night and doodle away on pieces of paper, to be ready by Saturday. The punter doesn’t have to do any of that anymore; it’s actually already done for you.
I think what is actually going on, all that stuff has to be marketed towards the punter, because the punter should be aware that that stuff happens, and the more that they’re aware, the more that they’ll be involved.
It’s massive, it really is. I don’t think people understood, in the top end of racing, how big this actually is. It’s on a timescale of, I would say, twenty years. Now the first one that gets me is when you go and put money in your TAB account, and you walk in, and you can’t see anyone watching the races on the screen, it’s just five 18yo kids sitting around Trackside, playing computer horses.
Then the second one, you’ve got, that I’ve always seen in my time, especially when you get to the corporate level and you can see actual numbers, the demographic between 18-30 is the age group of sports betting versus the demographic for horse racing which is up around the mid-forties, if you put that on a 20 year scale then sports betting really has a massive edge on racing coming up.
To me, the punting and the wagering of racing that keeps the sport alive, so that’s my big challenge, I think, for racing coming up in the future for sure.