So, last week started on an interesting note! We now have an established gambling institution promoting, of all things, the release of their ‘matched betting’ calculator. Now, before we all faint with surprise, allow me to cushion said shock by saying that it was Smarkets, the betting exchange, which announced this.
Let us not underestimate the importance of this news simply because it is a Betting Exchange that has announced this rather than a bookmaker. It still represents a huge shift in the way the industry views matched betting.
Now, it is no secret that Smarkets have, and still are, friendly with matched betting companies. Smarkets are fully aware of the positive impact matched bettors have on their bottom line. However, they have always kept any such allegiances to matched betting quiet – preferring not to shake the hornets’ nest that is UK bookmakers.
So, the announcement of a calculator that actively promotes taking advantage of backing and laying the same event (matched betting) to their customer base, is a radical (and notably public) step forward.
To be clear, none of us should be expecting to receive Christmas cards from the bookmakers any time soon. But when this news is combined with, what appears to be, a relaxing in gubbing algorithms used by bookmakers, you could be forgiven for thinking genuine change may be on the way. Of course, this could mean absolutely nothing to matched betting in the wider context but these blogs are so often clouded with negativity, that a potentially positive view of the future is very welcome indeed.
The calculators themselves are nothing particularly special, with many of them appealing to Exchange Traders rather than matched bettors. Though what is interesting is the blurb that can be found beneath the calculator on what matched betting is.
“Simply put, matched betting allows you to benefit from bookmakers’ free bet bonuses, offers and incentives by using a betting exchange to make a low-risk profit.”
“Smarkets welcome matched bettors and because we offer an industry-low fixed 2% commission on net profits only, it makes sense to matched bet with Smarkets.”
I’ll admit, while I read this I had a grin on my face like the Cheshire Cat. You see it is one thing for matched betting sites like Heads&Heads to write things like this. However, it is quite another for a well-established powerhouse like Smarkets to say it. Whilst, matched betting is (of course) no secret, the industry as a whole treats it as taboo and while some may see this as particularly bold, we here at Heads&Heads see it as a massive step forward.
With all this said however, you shouldn’t be expecting anything similar from Betfair in the near future. Their relationship with Paddy Power will no doubt restrict any such changes. However, Betfair has a well-publicised and very active Trading community, who, for better or worse, move a lot of money around the Betfair Exchange platform/markets. With tools like these calculators being released on Smarkets, rather than Betfair, those same traders could be considering their options.
There is no point looking too much deeper into this topic for now. The calculators have only just been released and it is too early to assess whether the gambling industry really cares. But, with a bit of luck we’ll be talking with Smarkets in the coming months to get a better grasp on whether this, apparently new approach, sets a precedent for how they view the future of the gambling market.