Bookmakers vs Betfair: why the exchange is not always the best option

You may have heard people saying the following comments:

“Why do people use bookmakers?  The Odds are so much better on betfair”

“The bookmakers are all crooks.  As soon as you win some serious money they cancel your account.”

These are two quote that are very close to my heart as most of my bookmaker accounts have been cancelled or, what is usually the case, the bet sizes are limited to such a small amount they might as well have cancelled it.

Let’s address each of these sentences in turn:

Bookmakers vs Betting Exchanges

Unless you have your head in the sand, you will see that Betfair SP odds are higher than bookmaker odds the majority of the time.  Anyone who bets on a regular basis will know this, and Betfair likes promoting this.

So it’s simple then; always use Betfair.  Wrong!

‘Always’ is the key word that needs to be debated.  If you are betting just before an event starts, then betfair should be your go to betting place.

The problem for me, due to my ongoing search for value, I often place my bets the night before racing.  During these times, the liquidity on the betting exchanges is just not there.  Spreads are really wide and I’d be lucky to get a tenner matched.

Due to this I am reliant on the bookmakers to get my bets place.   Waiting for the morning is not an option, as I’m not the only one who understands the value concept, and by the time the morning arrives the odds have often collapsed.

In summary, if you are placing bets reasonably close to an event start time you should use an exchange.

If, like me, you place bets well in advance of a race than the bookmakers do have a use.

This brings me onto the next point:

 “The bookmakers are all crooks.  As soon as you win some serious money they cancel your account.”

The answer to this one is a ‘yes’ and a ‘maybe’.  Having made some reasonable (not a lot) I can first hand confirm that bookmakers will limit your accounts with minimal reasons.  In my case, for winning less than 2k in most cases, some I actually had a net loss!  Other reasons are when people are exploiting promotional offers or are arbing with the exchange.

So yes, they will close your account if you make money, and so you may agree that these guys are crooks, but are they really?

Think of any business; if you have unprofitable customers, what is the logical thing to do – stop doing business with them.

Some businesses don’t have that luxury e.g. people who only buy the loss-leader specials from a supermarket.  For others, where they have an option to do a deal with a customer, then most businesses will avoid customers where they don’t make money from them.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate bookmakers and don’t like that they refuse my bets but from a logic perspective I just about understand why they do it.

Whenever you hear someone claiming that bookmakers are all crooks, try to see it from their perspective.

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