There was positive news for long-suffering punters recently when Bet Victor announced it would be allowing all customers to win up to £500 per bet on UK and Irish horse racing.
That makes Bet Victor the first major bookmaker to offer a comprehensive bet guarantee covering all UK and Irish horse races, regardless of grade and it covers each-way bets as well.
For years punters have suffered from bookies restricting winning accounts (and even some that aren’t winning), only allowing customers to place minimal bets of £1 or £2 per race.
This is tantamount to closing an account and has left many punters angry and frustrated – often turning to exchanges like Betfair to place their bets instead of the bookies.
It also led to mounting pressure from government, regulators and groups such as the Horseracing Bettors Forum to ease restrictions on punters and provide a fair playing field.
Thankfully some of the bookies have started listening to this pressure and begun to loosen their restrictions, for horse racing at least.
Moves in the Right Direction
A small effort had already been made to move in the right direction prior to Bet Victor’s recent announcement, with Coral and Ladbrokes having guaranteed to lay the following wagers:
- – Bets to win up to £5,000 on all races broadcast on UK television channel ITV, from 9am on the morning of the race.
- – Bets to win up to £2,000 on Class 4 or above handicaps
- – Bets to win up to £2,000 on any Listed, Group and Graded from 11am.
- – Bets to win up to £500 on any other British or Irish race (i.e. similar to the recent Bet Victor move).
- – Bets to win up to £5,000 for wagers placed in betting shops on all ITV Racing events.
William Hill has also guaranteed the last point and has extended it to online customers too, albeit with a maximum potential win of £1,000 and only for races shown on ITV.
It should be stressed that the bookies may of course allow you to win more than these amounts – it is just that these are the amounts the bookies are guaranteeing they will lay wagers for, rather than only allowing you to able to bet say £1 or £2, as has been the case for those with restricted accounts up until now.
Bet Victor Move Points Towards the Future
The Bet Victor £500 guarantee offer opens at 11am on the day of the race, and features as a separate Guaranteed Bet market alongside other normal markets so punters can find it easily.
Whilst this is the first blanket guarantee to allow punters to win up to a certain amount on all UK and Irish racing, Bet Victor have indicated that it may not end there.
Matt Scarrott, Director of BetVictor’s Sportsbook, said:
“We entered dialogue with the Horseracing Bettors Forum earlier this year and this project is something we have been keen to implement for a while. We believe our guarantee to include ‘each way’ bets and all race classes makes it a leading industry initiative.”
“Once we have trialled Guaranteed Bet for a short time, our plan is to review it with the intention of increasing limits and extending the timescales going forward.”
This would be welcome news and it will be interesting to see if more bookies follow suit. Certainly those bookies who have implemented bet guarantees have stolen a march on their competitors and will no doubt see the return of many customers who have had their accounts restricted previously.
It is unclear however with bookies would still restrict accounts of those who arb or match bet, so we will have to wait and see on that one.
It should also be noted that Bet Victor’s £500 Bet Guarantee Offer does not apply to Best Odds Guaranteed, Run for Your Money, and additional ‘each way’ place term offers.
Moving Into Other Sports?
One of the major questions regarding the recent changes is whether they will start to apply to other sports beyond horse racing.
We haven’t seen clear indications from the bookmakers on that front, but you would think if it proves successful on horse racing and they can manage their liabilities, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t be applied to other sports.
Personally we would like to see it spread to other sports like golf, football and tennis – and eventually to cover all sports.
After all, the practice of restricting winning accounts is grossly unfair and there must be a happy medium bookmakers can come to that allow punters to have a decent punt without threatening the bookies’ business model. Let’s not forget that only 2% of punters make money long-term, so really it should be possible.
The recent moves to set reasonable limits of how much people can win on horse racing are surely recognition of this and are greatly welcomed.
Let’s hope this is just the start of things to come…