Latest Cases - February 2016

The mucking out begins...

4th February 2016

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • Get out of debt – set up a tipping service….
  • How the shakedown came about….
  • Technology cannot deliver expertise….
  • I see signs of a market shakeout….

Get out of debt – set up a tipping service….

The more tipping services I look at the more incredulous I become about the prices these outfits charge clients.

Times are tough. People are experiencing hard times. And it seems to me that every single one of these financially-strapped individuals has set up some kind of sports tipping service to put food on the table.

Every man Jack and his dog is a tipster these days. And none are shy about charging the Earth. I am seeing more and more services doing the rounds and asking £80 to £100 per month to join – sometimes more!

£100 a month for racing tips? Lawyers come cheaper, my friend….

I can get my lawn cut, my shirts ironed, my carpets vacuumed, my windows cleaned, my car washed, my hair trimmed, my shoes shined and my milk bill paid - and still have change for a few football accas and a win double on the nags out of that kind of spend….

When was it that tipping services became such a precious and valuable commodity in the lives of men?

When was it that tipsters started to compete with the cost of petrol, electricity and Council Tax on the household monthly budget sheet?

Tipping service operators will tell you that their subscription costs are so exorbitant because their services supply information that makes money.

But, of course, most tipsters are lying through their back teeth, deluded to the point of mental illness or suffering the side-effects of hallucinogenic substances.

The fact is that in most cases the monthly subscription fee you pay to join a tipping service represents just the START of the cost. The information these charlatans provide you with will set you back at least the same again and generally more.

It isn’t obligatory to be a fool when you get involved with most tipsters – but it sure does help. And in recent times it has helped to have deep pockets too. Doing business with a lot of tipsters is to consent being shaken down….

How the shakedown came about….

For a few years the tipping industry – for that is what it has grown into – has had things its own way. We have lived through the tipping industry’s golden age of warm apple pie and ice cream.

The expansion of the betting industry, increased levels of televised sports, and the introduction of new bet-types, markets and betting platforms encouraged an increased and hitherto unheard of demand for sports-betting information….

For years profitable sports-betting had been the preserve of a select few. Now the new technologies and opportunities seemed to make it possible for any Tom, Dick or Harry to get his share of the pie and the betting profits.

Of course, the idea is a complete nonsense. But it is a very seductive notion. And millions – literally – of punters (existing and prospective) fell for its charm.

Any sports fan with a pulse could picture himself making a living in the new and reinvigorated sports-betting markets from the comfort of his armchair.

There was barely a racing fan in the country who didn’t buy into the belief he could retire in just a few short years from the proceeds of laying horses on Betfair – and he wouldn’t even have to get out of his pyjamas in a morning to do it!  

Everybody wanted to back and lay, everybody wanted to make the spread, get the middle, arb the market, take a position, trade the profit, green-up, back the winner and profit from the loser – all tax-free.

For a while it seemed like developments in technology alone were sufficient to make betting pay. Just having the right kit, an Internet connection and accounts with the right online bookmaking sites appeared to put average Joe Punter on a par with the real movers and shakers. Increased betting profits were just a derivative of increased opportunities to bet. That’s how it seemed.

And, as with all the greatest illusions, it took time see through it.

Technology cannot deliver expertise….

And it was an illusion….

Winning isn’t as simple as having the opportunity to do so. If it were then I wouldn’t be writing this column. And you wouldn’t be reading it. We’d both be on some beach in Brazil drinking banana daiquiris.

Technology makes it possible to bet in myriad different ways. But it doesn’t change the fact that you have to KNOW something in order to bet effectively or well or at least in a way that doesn’t damage you. Technology alone cannot give you sports-betting expertise.

Over time this truth dawned on all the new sports-bettors – at a rate that was directly proportional to the losses they’d already racked up following dreams of untold riches and a life of leisure as a sports-betting pro.

Slowly but surely they realized – or it was made clear to them – that they needed more than technology and opportunity. They needed information. They needed to know how to bet, what to bet, when to bet, where to bet and why to bet it…. They needed advice. They needed expertise. They needed someone to tell them what to do….

And, slowly and gradually, the tipping industry appeared and grew like a tumor. It had always been there. But never on the scale we have seen it grow to in the last 15 years or so.

Information was king. Everybody wanted it. Suddenly every sports-fan with an opinion and a Paypal account had something to sell. Almost overnight everybody was in the business of providing ‘unique’ and ‘professional’ advice for serious punters.

Every wide-boy in Creation was promising infallible insider information, mathematical systems, scientific methods, big strike rates, and easy profits….

And punters – still in thrall to the dream of becoming a sports-betting whizz – were prepared to pay for it… and pay big. The tipsters were not slow to capitalize.

And here we are today with greed-driven tipping services hawking out mostly useless information at £80.00 to £100.00 per month.

I see signs of a market shakeout….

But I see signs of this ridiculous situation changing - slowly.

Times are a little tougher than they were. And tipsters generally fail to produce results that match up to the claims they make. They generally don’t deliver. They generally don’t make good on their promises.

And I believe that punters (particularly the smart and the financially-strapped) are becoming more resistant to paying silly prices in exchange for non-effective information. When tipsters fail they are being ditched – for good – far more quickly than they once were.

I see this in the increase of ‘Profits or Money Back’ offers that tipping services are going to market with.

More and more tipping services are trying to get punters onboard – and trying to keep them onboard – by promising to refund subscription fees if the service selections do not produce profits.

I am also seeing evidence of more and more failing services getting realistic with their pricing policies.

What we are witnessing is the start of a shakeout. The market is riddled with tipsters. Type ‘Tipping Service’ into Google and you get 37,300,000 results. There’s probably a tipping service for every man, woman and child in the British Isles.

Most of these services don’t deliver. They are not fit for purpose. And they will be shaken out of the market as time goes on. There is only so much demand to go round and this is diminishing in our tough economic climate. The services that can’t deliver will be starved of their lifeblood – subscription fees.

Many will refuse to go quietly. They will do what they can to stay alive. They will ultimately fail. But for now they will continue trying to attract subscription fees by offering to refund them in the event their expertise fails to produce a profit – or by offering a lower-cost deal to begin with.

This is just the start. The weakest services are already making concessions that wouldn’t have been dreamt of 5-years ago.

The weak, the mediocre and the useless will perish. Only the strong, the good and the decent will survive the shakeout.

And prices will find a level that is more realistic than those we’ve been looking at in recent years. Competition for a share of the market that does remain will see to that.

The market has changed. The stables are being mucked out. We wonder who will be left standing when the market has done its work.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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