Latest Cases - December 2012

Robs Horse Tips says no censorship…

6th December 2012

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • A fair hearing for all….
  • Robs Horse Tips says no censorship….
  • The tipster’s favourite get-out clause….
  • If you recommend ‘trades’ then just say so….
  • Getting back on track after a bad spell….

A fair hearing for all….

Here at Verdict chambers we are nothing if not fair.

The betting industry is the beat we police. When the major players – the bookies, the exchanges, the tipsters and the betting service providers – get it wrong (or right) we see it as our role to give you the skinny so that you know what’s going on out there.

But we are not dictators. We are not running some kind of kangaroo court where we feel we can complain, criticize or condemn without any comeback.

We are always interested in the other side of the story.

We are always prepared to consider mitigating evidence.

And when service providers we’ve put in the dock come forward with clarifications, qualifications or just their take on our comments then we feel honor-bound to report that too. We wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t.

So in the interests of fair-play we must draw to your attention feedback we have received from a service provider recently highlighted in this column….

Robs Horse Tips says no censorship….

On 22nd November we offered our review of the Robs Horse Tips service.

As part of that review I questioned the service operator’s motives in deleting comments from his site’s ‘Shoutbox’ function. I made the point that such censorship undermined the point of having such a forum in the first place.

Robin, the guy behind the service, was made aware of our review and wrote in to set the record straight. He told us: ‘A comment will only be removed from the Shoutbox if a contributor fails to identify himself by name….’

Thanks to Robin for clarifying that policy. I guess that’s fair enough. There’s a limit to how many times you can allow any Tom, Dick or Harry to sign into your forum as an ‘anonymous guest’ so that he can pepper you with insults and abuse.

And to be fair to Robs Horse Tips there is plenty of comment on the Shoutbox that is negative in tone and which has nevertheless been left up for existing and prospective clients to view.

A tipping service with a forum – rare – can’t be much fairer than to allow you to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Kudos for that.

The tipster’s favourite get-out clause….

Our review of the service was conducted at a time when Robin, his selections and his inside information were going through a rough patch – with day-to-day tips posting a 26 point loss and tips based on information received producing an 8.2 point deficit when backed to level stakes.

Rob wanted to make the point that many of the horses he puts up as selections contract in price and that trading them on the exchanges is a route to profit – whether the horses ultimately win or lose. Apparently ‘a lot’ of Rob’s members play his selections this way.

Okay. Like me you’ve probably come across this kind of thing before. A lot of tipsters make this kind of claim when their selections lose but contract a couple of points in price in the time between the selection being offered and the off.

‘My selections contract in price….’ has become a bit of a tipsters’ get-out clause since the advent of betting exchanges – where you can back high, lay low and trade a profit whatever the outcome of a race.

Nowadays when a tipster’s selection bombs any contraction in price suddenly becomes the big deal – a kind of win without the win. For me it’s generally a form of after-timing – a form of retrospective hedging. And, personally, I just don’t buy it.

I guess it is possible that punters are making small percentage profits from trading relatively small price contractions on the exchanges. There must be – by the law of averages – punters who believe the very minimal proceeds involved justify all the time-consuming fiddling about required to secure them.

But the fact is that most punters simply don’t have time to conduct a trading operation. Most punters have jobs and other responsibilities. They can’t sit about watching Oddschecker and Betfair all afternoon in some concerted effort to turn an original £20.00 stake into £1.37 of profit (minus 5% exchange commission).

If truth be told most punters trying to join the ‘trading’ ranks would be better and more profitably employed simply turning the laptop off and saving on the electricity. Unless you’re playing to big stakes you’re going to struggle to make trading the horses pay to any worthwhile level.

And it’s even harder if you’re paying £500 a year for the information you’re relying on for your trades – that’s how much an annual subscription to Robs Horse Tips will set you back. Expertise (real or imagined) doesn’t come cheap.

If you recommend trades then just say so….

Maybe Robs Horse Tips has a hard core membership of high-rolling exchange traders who don’t mind paying him £500+ per year to get the names of horses that will contract a couple of points (sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes not at all and other times drifting). Maybe they’re all playing at big stakes – sufficient to make the exercise worthwhile. I don’t know.

What I do know is that most punters who use a tipping service are your common garden variety punters.

At a guess – and it is just a personal opinion – I’d say 99% pay their subscription fees because they want winners they can back – plain and simple. They want a constant stream of horses that will win or place in their races at nice prices and produce an overall profit at the end of the month after all expenses have been factored in. End of story. 

Retrospectively suggesting these people should be concentrating instead on trying to squeeze a slither of profit out of a horse contracting from 3/1 to 11/4 or from 12/1 to 10/1 isn’t what they want to hear. And it probably isn’t what they pay hefty subscription fees for.

The bottom line is this: any service that wants to be judged on price contractions – as opposed to winners and losers and level stakes profit – should promote itself primarily as one that provides ‘recommended trades’ rather than out-and-out ‘to back’ selections.

Getting back on track after a bad spell….

Every tipping service has its ups and downs. Purple patches come and go. As do the periods when you can’t pick a winner for love nor money.

A couple of weeks back Robs Horse Tips simply wasn’t clicking. Never mind trades, Robin must have been seriously considering reframing his selections as out-and-out exchange lays. His daily selections were consistently wide of the mark. His ‘inside information’ was consistently off-beam.

But that’s the way of it in the tipping business. Bad spells have to be endured and – if you work hard – the good times come back. 

Since we produced our review Robin’s day-to-day bets have been winning at a rate of 52.3% - with 11 winning bets from 21 (most of them place bets). Prices have not been sufficient to produce a profit.

Losses for the period amount to a shade over 3 points. But the service has clearly put a bad spell to bed and is moving in the right direction once again.

Good luck to the Robs Horse Tips service and all who sail with her.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week. 

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