Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Racecouse thoughts

On the way to Ascot .. got a very decent pitch, in tattersalls, and its fee entry for the public.

This is a big deal, for racecourse's ..

Currently, most racecourses charge between £12 and £26 for Tattersalls entry, with just Towcester racecourse, to my knowledge, being free entry, every day. (I am a big fan, of Towcester .. its a v well run course, who get good attendances, and make a return from a great hospitality business, and selling the picture rights/food concessions).

As this is the fist race day of the season, Ascot have given locals, free entry passes, and a big crowd, of maybe 10000, is expected .. especially as summer, may be finally on its way.

Ascot is a grade 1 track, which spent .. maybe £40 million on a re-design, some years ago, and really decent races are run. We have only occasionally, bet there before, and it will be an interesting day .. especially as its a southern track, and people who come, might be expected to have a few bets.

There are many things currently wrong with the racing structure in the UK. Each vested interest, will have their own favourite, but some of mine, are :

1. Starting Price .. manipulation.

The reader should understand, betting shops are relayed the current betting prices, on events such as greyhounds/horses, from the bookmaker's working at those meetings.

These bookies, work to a betting over-round, of probably 1-2% per runner .. so, a 6 horse race, might have a 10% over-round, whilst a 20 runner race, might be 20%.

A 6 dog greyhound race, will always have an over-round of 20%, and its just theft.

On many occasions, a dog will be showing .. say 4/1, and this is the price, that's being bet, up and down the country, in the 8000 betting shops. On Betfair, the dog will usually be bigger, sometimes much, much bigger.
Last week, I saw a dog, that was 17/1 on Betfair .. and just 7/2 in the shops.

This cannot be right .. its blatant theft.

I understand a bookie has to have a profit margin, but, the un-informed many, need to be protected.

SP has to include the betting exchange mechanism, like it or not.

2. Bookmakers terms, are not uniform.

Generally, in a 8 horse race, each-way terms, are 1/5th the price, for a place. Some races, (normally, when the favourite is odds-on, these terms are unprofitable for bookmakers), and racecourse bookies, can legally change the terms .. as long as they are displayed. So, they might go, 1/7th the odds a place .. which is probably more realistic.

The problem is, all bookmakers bet differently, and its easy for the general public to get ripped-off - especially if they are casual punters. I am sure, standardised each-way terms will come, soon .. but, its already been too long.

3.Betting shops, wont lay a bet.

This a a thorny one, as these firms are now run by bean counters, who understand, their overheads, and want to dissuade professionals from betting, with them.

The bean counter will say, he wants to lay, the horse, or whatever, to a regular mug, who will more than likely, lose it back, on other bets. This makes business sense, but, gives the racing industry, a bad image ..

If a horse is available, at 7/2, to a mug, it should be laid to lose .. say £50, to anyone. I understand, people can walk round, the v many betting shops, placing bets in each one, and v significant liabilities can accrue, but, that's a process, the betting shops, need to manage - thru the pricing mechanism.

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