In the UK, an independent bookmaker has accused other competitors of collusion. The claims of collusion include offering less competitive odds to race goers. This concerns an event held at the Ffos Las Racecourse and Conference Centre in Wales last summer.
A Sunday report from The Guardian newspaper noted that the accusations came from Andy Smith, a bookmaker. According to him, he has been trading at the Carmarthenshire track under the Festival Racing brand name. He is part of an investigation conducted by the Horseracing Bettors Forum industry group.
Unusually Low Betting Odds
The Guardian report included details about the Horseracing Bettors Forum study. It found out that the horseracing odds bookmakers offered at the Ffos Las Racecourse and Conference Centre track were extremely low in 2017. The odds declined even more in August and became increasingly inferior.
The newspaper reports that the betting odds saw a significant drop on August 25. On that day, over 6,000 people attended a Ladies’ Day event at the racetrack. Seven involved competitors used this to their advantage and gouged less experienced bettors out of their money.
Smith told The Guardian that this occurred because there weren’t enough bookies. Because of this, it all ended up looking like a cartel. He described the possible situation with a bookie approaching another bookie, saying they would first do 3% for the first couple of races and then go up to 4%.
The report noted these percentages directly relate to hypothetical profit margins for the betting odds. This concerns races with a larger number of balancing to smaller odds. This results in more money for the bookmaker. The report explains that competitive ratios are generally under 2%.
Smith alleges that these types of practices are prevalent at “satellite” wagering areas. These wagering areas are usually situated in location far from the main sports betting rings of larger tracks. As such, they attract less experienced individuals.
Smith told The Guardian that this kind of collusion might not be just happening at the two mentioned locations. There are probably other undisclosed venues where such practices are common.
Mark Kershaw works for the Ffos Las Racecourse and Conference Centre. He told The Guardian he is beyond frustrated with the odds that were offered on August 25. He explained he will write to each of the bookmakers working on the day in question. He wants to make it clear that the Ffos Las Racecourse Centre is very disappointed.
Reports indicate that the manager of the betting ring approached Kershaw and his associates. The manager complained he was unhappy with the situation. He thought the bookmakers were not interested in the race goers and their value. Kershaw concluded by saying the betting ring manager said they were working hard to get race goers to the tracks. Everyone at the track was doing their best to make sure the attendees always return for another great experience.