UK licensed bookmaker Betfred is set to walk away from its commercial relationship with UK Racing amid a feud over the Tote. The changes could have a knock on effect for reload offers on matched betting sites, with both Betfred and Totesport potentially scrapping any horse racing offers as a result.
Betfred To End Commercial Relationship With UK Racing
Betfred acquired the Tote from the government in 2011 at a cost of £230 Million and has ensured that it has moved with the times. Along with securing the future of Totepool betting, it developed Totesport into a leading sports betting website. It’s flagship product, the Scoop 6, has hit the headlines for producing enormous jackpots in recent years and it’s fair to say Betfred has safeguarded a British establishment which has a history dating back to 1927.
However, the majority of British racecourses are set to drop Tote Pool services from the summer of 2018, with a new pools system set to replace the Tote. In total, there are 54 racetracks ran by Arena Racing Company (ARC) and the Jockey Club set to ditch the Tote. This has been met with exasperation by Fred Done, the founder of Betfred who has ordered the closure of 49 of its 51 on-course betting points by July 2018. Only the bookmaker owned Ascot and Chelmsford City venues will continue to provide Tote services following the cull.
“All our betting shops on the racecourse with the exception of Ascot and Chelmsford are shutting down. I won’t stay where I’m not wanted.”
“If anything, the regret I have about not being on racecourses is that our association with racing is broken now and will be finished next year. But that’s not business, it’s sentimental.”
Loss Of Betfred Sponsorship A Major Blow To Racing
The Racing Post estimates that around 600 races will be affected by the Betfred closure, costing the industry around £6 Million in annual sponsorship revenues. The bookie will honour all racing sponsorship contracts until July 2018, after which it will relax its association with the sport to a minimum.
To get an idea of which races will be affected, here are the major Betfred sponsored events for 2017;
January Warwick Betfred Classic Chase
February Sandown Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase
February Haydock Betfred Grand National Trial
March Uttoxeter Betfred Midlands Grand National
May York Betfred Dante Stakes
August Goodwood Betfred Mile
August Haydock Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes
August Newbury Betfred Hungerford Stakes
August Newbury Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes
August York Betfred Ebor
August York Betfred Melrose Handicap
September Newmarket Betfred Cambridgeshire
October Newmarket Betfred Cesarewitch
November Doncaster Betfred November Handicap
December Huntingdon Betfred Peterborough Chase
Representatives for many of the sport’s major venues in Britain remain optimistic that new sponsors can be found, with Jockey Club Racecourses’ regional director for the south west, Ian Renton saying;
“Prior to Betfred coming on board with the Tote there were a number of other operators that we had. We now feel this creates an opportunity for other bookmakers to be on the course.”
Betfred & Totesport Racing Offers Could Disappear
Betfred & Totesport racing offers feature regularly on matched betting sites but that could be about to change. In recent weeks both sites have switched from more lucrative offers to a less valuable Beaten By Half A Length offer. Not only is this promotion less likely to yield a refund, the free bet amount has been reduced from £25 to £10. This has dramatically reduced its appeal from a matched betting perspective.
Previously both firms had regularly listed good advantage play offers that were extremely useful for contributing to mid-week earnings. Money Back 2nd gave a free bet refund of up to £25 for backing the runner-up in nominated races. By backing with the bookmaker and laying with a betting exchange it was worth roughly £4 over repeated play, taking into consideration qualifying losses and expected free bet retention. The Money Back 2nd to Starting Price (SP) Favourite promotion was also decent at around £2.50 expected value. It could be used to good effect whenever an odds-on favourite competed in one of the specified races but hasn’t been available for some time now.
Extra Place races are still regularly promoted and can be played to make a profit under the right circumstances. By placing your each way bet with the bookmaker and laying the individual win and place markets on an exchange, there’s a chance that your selection will finish in the extra place to win with both bets. The leading matched betting sites such as Profit Accumulator and Matched Bets explain how to do this with good strategy guides.
Best Odds Guaranteed can give some unexpected boosts to matched betting returns and is a nice supplement when completing racing offers. It works by ensuring that you get paid at the bigger price between the fixed-odds price you took and the official SP. So if you back a horse at 4/1 (5.0) in the morning and it goes on to win at 9/2 (5.5), your bet would be returned at the bigger odds. When matched betting the lay price will remain the same, so this can mean increased profits with no extra effort on your part.
For example; let’s say you are using a £10 free bet on a horse with back odds of 11/1 (12.0) at Betfred and lay odds of 12.5 on Betfair Exchange. With a lay stake of £8.84 you would expect a return of £8.34 if the bookmaker bet won. However, if the horse drifted in the market to a SP of 13/1 (14.0) then the profit from Betfred would increase to £28.34.
We can only hope that Betfred continues to promote good racing offers going forward following the fall out. On the plus side, it’s likely that other bookmakers will take up the sponsorships and this could mean some new betting offers for matched bettors to get stuck into.