Latest Cases - August 2011

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters' Verdict....

  • What kind of an Australian are you, cobber?
  • Throw another shrimp on the Barbie, Bruce!!!
  • A kangaroo loose in the top paddock?

What kind of an Australian are you, cobber?

Do you like to bet Win only on the horses? Or are you one of those
punters who like to cover more than one base and bet each-way? 

It might not seem like a particularly important question. But the
answer could determine what kind of an Australian you would make.

If you like to bet Win only then you'd probably find yourself most
at home in Sydney, New South Wales
- where the locals are thought of
as brash, opportunistic risk-takers and where Win only bets are
easily the most popular type of wager on the racing.

Figures recently released by Tabcorp - the Australian pool-betting
administrator - reveal that Win only bets account for well over 50%
of total racing bets taken on the Totalisator in the state of New
South Wales.

If you're more of an each-way punter then you'd probably feel a
little more at home in Melbourne.
Folk from Sydney see their
Victorian brethren as conservative, cautious and risk-averse. And
the way the Melbourne punters choose to bet adds some weight to that

In Melbourne Win only bets account for just a smidge over 40% of
bets taken on the racing - with more punters preferring to bet more
cautiously and add a place dimension to their wagers.

Risk-averse Victorians also like their multiple betting - no doubt
attracted by the opportunity to have a shy at a big prize for small
stakes. It's a form of betting that doesn't meet with as much
support or favour in New South Wales where the motto tends to be
'Sydney or the bush' - the Australian version of 'all or nothing'.

And the Victorians have been slower to adopt in-play betting and the
opportunities it presents.

Centrebet, the Australian corporate bookmaker, report that whilst
punters in New South Wales are increasingly likely to be betting in-
play on NRL football games (topping up their investment on an
outcome as the game progresses, securing a winning position on both
sides as the odds fluctuate or betting to bail themselves out of
trouble) their Victorian counterparts still prefer to place most of
their bets in the fixed-priced pre-game markets.

Throw another shrimp on the barbie, Bruce!!!

But maybe the Victorians aren't as agricultural and as slow-witted
as their betting habits and preferences make them first appear.

Victorians like to bet on the ALF (the Australian Football League or
Aussie rules football) - that bewildering game of aerial ping pong
where wild-looking, raw-boned Aussie blokes chuck a rugby ball
around on a modified cricket pitch. The team in possession of the
ball is trying to boot it through what look like rugby posts. The
team not in possession is trying to bring to ground the guy on the
other side that is - or strangle him in the process. At least that's
what it looks like to me. For the official rules click here.   

Centrebet recently released its ALF betting figures for 2010/2011.
And these told an interesting story to the switched on observer.

Pre-game fixed-odds betting turnover was up from $47 million in
2009/2010 to $76 million. But (and it's a big BUT) profit was
pitiful - just $0.3 million or 0.4% of turnover.

Dig a little deeper and you find out a little more. Profits are so
low because the bookmakers are finding it difficult to beat the fixed-
odds pre-match punters. In the ALF the favourites are dominating
week-on-week - winning their games. Handicaps or point spreads are
being easily covered.
The prices on the favourites are very short
(often long odds-on) but those favourites keep on winning and keep
on covering the spread. And the bookies - who have no choice but to
stand the bets - have to keep on paying out.

The bottom line is that the 'cautious' Victorian punters are finding
it very profitable to bundle together a few of the ALF favourites in
a multiple each week
(no wonder they like those multiples, Sheila) -
and the bookies are effectively getting their backsides kicked from
one end of the season to the other.

A kangaroo loose in the top paddock?

Look at Centrebet's in-play figures and you'll see a very different
story. Live betting in the AFL increased from $11.5 million in 2009-
10 to $15.3 million in 2010-11. At the same time revenues rose from
$0.65 million to $1.1 million or from 4.5% of turnover to 7.1% of
the turnover.

In other words the bookmakers are making in-play betting on the ALF
pay at the expense of the punters
- punters like those from Sydney
who have embraced the new markets and appear to prefer more risk.

Risks are taken in the hope of bigger rewards. But often times more
risk just leads to bigger losses. And that's certainly the case here
where ALF in-play betting is concerned.

The Victorians might well be cautious and a little risk averse but
the bottom line is that they're the ones who are laughing - because
they're the ones in profit.

It might seem a little more glamorous to be a brash and
opportunistic risk-taker but if all that gets you is a deficit in
the old sky rocket then you're doing yourself no favours - and you
can understand why some of the Victorian punters are wondering
whether some of their New South Wales counterparts have got a
kangaroo loose in the top paddock?

The ALF season proper runs from March to August - with the finals
being held in September and October. Games can be watched on ESPN
and quite a few of the British bookmakers offer odds on the match
outcomes and handicaps.

If you're one of those punters always looking for new ways to take a
few quid off the bookie then you might want to start betting like a
Victorian and get a few of those short-priced jollies bundled
together in multiples.

If it makes life tough for Centrebet there's no reason why the
bookies over here will find it any easier to beat you at the ALF

I'll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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