A few months ago Ladbrokes launched ‘Best Odds Guaranteed Plus’, a twist on the established ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ promotion which gives winning horse racing punters either the price they took about their winning selection, or the greater price if that winner returned at an SP (Starting Price) higher than the price that was taken.
In short you knew what odds you were going to receive and if your selection drifted in the betting you could receive an even better price.
Ladbrokes ‘Best Odds Guaranteed Plus’ added a price boost on successful bets that were taken at odds which were less than the ultimate SP. For example, if an early price was taken about a selection which won at an official SP that was a higher price, bets would be paid out at the next highest price.
This promotion remains in place. Meaning people that back a horse at 11/8 which wins with an SP of 6/4 will be paid out at odds of 13/8. Likewise, if odds of 3/1 are taken about a horse which wins at 4/1, punters will be given 9/2.
Remarkably the promotion did not really hit the headlines or ignite the imagination of the betting public, presumably as it has a maximum bet limit of £200 and only applies to win and each-way bets on UK and Irish racing.
Last week however the bookmaking world was turned on its head when bet365 announced they were following suit and, unlike the ‘boys in red’, there is no limit on the amount of the bet which will enjoy the enhanced price with their ‘Best Odds Guaranteed Plus’ (BOGP).
Furthermore bet365’s BOGP is available on all horse racing with the exception of North America and Australia, and prices will be boosted on all applicable legs of multiple bets. It is not limited to just singles.
The implications are massive. Punters should quickly realise the significance of a weight of money for any horse – as the overwhelming number of winners win at an SP shorter than the prices which were available before the start of the race. But also appreciate it is currently nonsensical to place horseracing bets with any other bookmaking firm.
bet365 will see limited profits from a sport which is already operating to small margins, in fact this initiative could remove their margins altogether and even see some races reduced to a negative percentage.
So why do it? The answer is simple, with any half educated horse racing punter realising the massively beneficial financial implications they now have no option than to place their horseracing bets with bet365 – a £20 double on two winners who have been ‘taken’ at 3/1 will pay £320. But if they SP at 4/1 bet365 will boost them to 9/2 and that bet is then worth £605 – which means they will leave their currently favoured bookmaker like rats from a sinking ship.
Bookmaking is clearly a cut-throat industry and this BOGP has put rival firms in a headlock. The question is, can those rivals follow suit and start offering BOGP themselves? Unless they have massive resources and domestic horse racing turnover represents a relatively small percentage of their business’ turnover, the answer is probably no.
Good old Ladbrokes, they shook up a hornets nest and opened a can of worms. But, in one fell swoop, they also started a fight they cannot win.