Market percentages
  • Total market percentages were up on last year… but is that the whole story?
  • “The Race Within The Race” – those horses that punters want to back – has seen a much larger shift

Racing Victoria and the metro racing clubs are in the habit of releasing their wagering turnover figures after carnivals, which offers an interesting running insight into how engaged punters are with the sport.

In recent years, wagering has been on the up-and-up. RV released their annual report last week, showing total turnover for the 2018-19 financial year as $7.02 billion, an increase of 9.4 per cent on the previous year.

2019 Spring Carnival

The growth, however, seems to have come to a halt, with wagering figures on the major days across the Spring Carnival down on last year.

There’s been a few things this has been put down to: a reduced interest in racing in general, damage done to the sport by recent horse welfare issues in the media, and a lack of value for punters due to increasing market percentages that bookies have been forced into as a result of race field fees and the new point-of-consumption taxes.

It’s the last one we’re interested in, so we took a look at the market percentages.

2019 Spring Carnival Market Percentages

We looked at average market percentages across all races on the seven major days of the carnival. As the biggest corporate bookmaker, we used Sportsbet’s closing markets as a guide… major bookmakers’ prices are so similar to each other these days that any one of them gives a good guide to the overall market. Here’s the average percentages:


So all-in-all… yes, percentages were up on last year. It varied across the days due to individual race factors but overall, the average market was up 1.6 per cent.

On face value, for all the blame that is put on market percentages, it doesn’t actually seem like that much. Is a 1.6 per cent increase in market percentages enough to drive people away from betting?

It’s hard to say… so we looked a little deeper.

The Race Within The Race

Anecdotal feedback across the carnival told us that total market percentage aside, punters were finding it extremely difficult to get value on the horses they actually wanted to back.

So we tried to illustrate this by looking at the same percentages, but only for the top four horses in each market. And this is what we found…


So there you have it… that would say the anecdotal feedback was largely correct. While the overall market percentage hasn’t moved a great deal, there has been a shift within races: a lot more percentage has been pushed into the top hopes in each race… ie, the horses that attract the most betting interest. This makes it much harder for many punters to find value on the bets they want to have.

And if they can’t find that value? The figures would suggest they’re simply not betting.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we dig further into the shifts in market percentage.

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