Caulfield bookies

As announced by RVL last week, Victoria has broken from the other racing states and made fundamental changes to the way official starting prices and fluctuations are calculated.

Currently, official on-course prices are just that – assessed using prices displayed by on-course bookmakers. From September 1st, that will change to instead reflect the prices offered by corporate bookmakers.

Dynamic Odds is a name familiar to most serious punters, and they’ve been engaged by Racing Victoria to deliver the new official prices. There’ll be a pool of ten corporate bookmakers from which prices are drawn, with the official price moving when six of those bookmakers put up a price.

On face value it’d seem fairly logical – a better reflection of the true market given the extreme majority of wagering is now done via corporate bookmakers.

So what does it mean for us, the punters?

Of course, the first question whenever the corporates are involved is whether you’ll be able to get on.

“Basically it’s not a price until it’s freely available to all,” says Champion Bets NSW analyst Nathan Snow.

“The price on-track is available to all comers, but currently the corporate prices aren’t. If the minimum bet laws come in, then it’s fine – otherwise it’s not a real representation of a true marketplace.”

Victoria are due to introduce their minimum bet rules for corporate bookmakers a month after this change, on October 1st. The big question however, is what form those rules will take?

Punters hoping to see a mirror image of the largely successful NSW minimum bet laws received a bit of a shock last month when RVL released their consultation paper and survey.

The proposal requires corporate bookies to bet punters to lose just $1,000 for metro racing (NSW operates at $2,000), and a vastly reduced period of operation: the NSW rules operate from 9am until the jump, whilst RVL proposed just 30 minutes pre-jump to two-minutes pre-jump.

(You can read our own response to the RVL minimum bet laws survey here)

Were the corporate MBLs to be implemented as proposed, then the official Victorian “starting price” would not be available to all punters, as bookmakers would not be bound under the MBLs to accept bets in the two minutes pre-jump.

The final details of those minimum bet laws for corporates remain a wait-and-see at this stage.  We put these questions to RVL, and are awaiting a response.

There is also the issue of the on-course price now not being visible on race telecasts – meaning no visibility for those betting onto course by phone.

“It’s a bit of a wait-and-see,” says Champion Bets Melbourne analyst Trevor Lawson, who regularly bets with on-course bookmakers himself.

“I might have to start going to metro meetings so I can see the odds the on-course are betting. I’m not sure how I’ll handle it yet.”

John Clancy is head of the Victorian Bookmakers Association, which represents on-course bookies.

“We’ve been looking at this option with Racing Victoria for quite a long time… there’s a degree of inevitably about it,” says Clancy, “It has no impact whatsoever on our ability to offer betting types to our clients, whether that’s Top Fluc or SP Guarantee or anything else.

“And with a Victorian bookmaker you can deal with them directly, be a client and get to know the bookmaker – you can discuss what you’re looking for with them.”

There’s also the possibility of additional opportunities for bookies and punters.

“It’s also got the potential to commercialise the Victorian price – either Victorian bookmakers’ prices on Dynamic Odds, or alternatively the concept of a specific Melbourne Rails Price.  We think there’s a number of options, which we’re currently discussing with RV and Dynamic Odds.”

Finally, a heads-up for those who do frequent the track.  If you’re at a Victorian racecourse, the prices displayed for races in other states will now be calculated under the new method – even though those other states are not changing their own official price method.

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