HBF reveals study into starting prices

A study by The Horseracing Bettors Forum has analysed the state of starting prices within the UK betting market.

The study outlined worrying results for punters betting at Welsh course Ffos Las, as it revealed that there were an “alarming level of over-rounds” at the course.

HBF member Steve Tilley, joint-author of the study with HBF chair Simon Rowlands, commented: “We set out to see if there was evidence that particular courses were notably good or bad for punters betting at starting prices, but never imagined we’d discover such an extreme outlier as that provided by Ffos Las.

“Anyone betting at SP there in 2017 was regularly being short-changed, and to a sizeable degree.”

The owner of Ffos Las race courses, Dai Walters responded: “I’ve never had a complaint about bookmakers and their prices at Ffos Las,” he said. “I’ll be looking at it and will discuss it with the bookmakers.”

He continued: “In a properly regulated industry these sorts of things would be picked up and investigated as they happen, and any systemic flaws would be addressed quickly.

“But the SPRC has demonstrated no interest in responding formally to correspondence about such matters from HBF, let alone in tackling a subject like this. The forum intends raising this with the Gambling Commission.”

Over-rounds are regarded as a way of measuring the value that is being offered by bookmakers on courses, with it  deriving from the sum of the amount that would need to be staked to return a fixed figure at each of the prevailing prices.

The study also underlined that the courses that provided punters with the best value  in terms of over-rounds throughout the year were; Nottingham; Catterick Bridge; and Thirsk.