Thursday, 4 February 2010


Warning: The below post may contain strong language.

Usually I would look to post a preview of the weekend’s upcoming Rugby League but frankly, I feel too pissed off to do so.

I have mentioned before how I keep an eye on RL markets from Monday onwards and on this Monday, I noticed that there was already a large amount of money available to back Castleford at 15.5.

I thought this represented a good trading opportunity and therefore backed it. More money kept on appearing at these odds and I kept topping up. I had expected the market to possibly have Leeds as low as 1.1 and whilst it was definitely unusual to see such money early on, who am I to quibble. For all I know, Castleford’s squad could have been hit with Swine flu.

Of course, when someone started to lay my draw bets that I put up as an attempt to possibly green up, I began to get an idea that something weird was happening in the market. However, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and after checking that I was not misreading the team names, proceeded and by Tuesday evening, I had a very nice position which would enable me to fully green for £100 before the game kicked off once the draw market fully formed.

Today, Betfair voided the market as the market had been “malformed”. Instead of them listing Home, Away, Draw they had listed Home, Draw and Away. Clearly someone had not realised this and had been trying to take advantage of me by offering odds out of sync with the market.

However, for a company who regularly switch the order of teams in connection with odds, I fail to see how a market has been “malformed” when all the freaking possible options have been listed. If when they change the running order in Formula 1, and I get mistaken about which driver is on which line, can I claim that the market has been “malformed”?

The lines clearly displayed the possible options. The fact that someone did not realise this is the fault of the individual. (Or bot – more on that to come).

So why have Betfair voided the market? Frankly, I do not believe for one instance that they looked at the market, realised their error and decided to void it. As a company they have proven that fairness is not a key issue for them, and the commission on my winnings would be worth something! On a few occasions you see early market prices to be completely out of line, but as far as I’m aware they are not voided.

So why void this? The key issue here for me is that the Rugby League markets usually have no liquidity so early in the week. Look at this week’s games. They have around £10 matched but they all have an attempt to lay a short price favourite and to lay the draw at the same odds at around the same price that I backed Castleford at. This points to one thing. I was not betting against an illiterate user but rather a bot that had been misprogrammed. For that, I take no issue with taking prices. This bot was merely attempting to collect money at prices which it considered to be advantageous for itself. If it gets it wrong, it deserves to have to deal with the issue.

Now, if Betfair had e-mailed me to explain the situation, I probably would not have been bothered. If it was a genuine error, then fair enough. It is the fact that they unilaterally voided a market which they did not communicate to me which really pisses me off. Possibly an announcement on the forum confirming the error? No, they just voided it.

How can I rely on bets that I place in the future not being voided? How can I rely that when I take a price it will stand? For instance, last year during Warrington v Catalans, Catalans could be laid at 1.06 despite being 6 points behind with 10 minutes to go! In the future, will Betfair look to void such markets? Because again, this was clearly an error.

And what about errors I have made where I have typed the stake in the odds and vice versa. Can I expect these to be voided? And why not? If it is my responsibility to proof my bets before submission it is surely another user’s responsibility to proof their bets before submission.

I simply cannot understand this. So are Betfair seeding the markets? Or are they seeking to protect someone? Or am I hellbent on conspiracy theories unduly? The fact is, I’m honestly not concerned about the profit lost. It is rather the precedent that it sets that concerns me and the fact that this seems very unfair.

All in all, I find Betfair’s conduct disgraceful. Now, I know that the only place I can trade in play on Rugby League is Betfair so I won’t be cutting my nose off to spite my face. However, equally I do not feel that this can be let drop because of the precedent it may set.

So what do you the reader think? Is this an overreaction? Or do you think like me that this poses serious issues which need responding to?


  1. Hi Craig,

    That's a bugger! To me it sounds unfair as all options were there. If one was missing then that would be a different story.

    I've linked to your blog mate - any chance you can return the favour?



  2. Done mate. Any chance of a Cover it Live Superbowl this weekend!? :-)

    It's BF's attitude that is the main sticking point. There is no communication anywhere and I wonder who they are protecting as it is pretty clear only one other "person" was effected.

    But then again, I have always been one for conspiracy theories!

  3. They should definitely have let you know about it, rather than just voiding without telling you.
    I read about a similar story a while ago.
    The point is this: if Betfair feel they have made a mistake, they will void (as in this case). So I don't think they're protecting the other person.

    A traditional bookmaker can cancel bets at will due to 'palpable error'. In my opinion this is grossly unfair.

    As far as I'm aware, if we make a mistake the money is lost.

    I had an issue some time ago on a champions league game involving Liverpool. Betfair suspended and unsuspended the market within a fraction of a second after a goal, so that the suspend sign did not even appear on my screen. The odds on offer were not cleared in my browser window either, so it looked like it was still 0-0. I layed 7 goals or more for a large stake which got matched instantly, and to my horror, I found out it was 1-0. Traded out immediately losing £100s. Very annoying.

  4. Looks to me like you were trying to cash in on what was an obvious error and crying because you got caught out. Good on betfair for voiding it far too many trap bettors on the site cashing in on other peoples errors

  5. ^^Yeah and most are running bots!

  6. Some interesting comments here.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Investor. You are definitely true that the rules on palps are dramatically unfair and skewered towards bookmaker's. Have you ever heard of a losing palp refunded?

    Spot on about the contact though. If I had gone away for two days and come back and seen my position eliminated, I would obviously have been more furious. At least this time, I had the ability to attempt to re-create my position.

    As for the anonymous comment - I backed at between 15 and 17.5. The market for Cas ended up at 12? Is that an "obvious error" in the scale of things? Obviously the fact that there was so much money was a sign of something unusual, but I don't see how that is getting caught out and at all how it can be likened to trap betting.

    The bot was attempting to place bets out there on RL markets at what it would have considered to be unfair rates. (A draw usually ends up at around 30 so offering a back at 15.5 isn't exactly "fair")

    I consider it to be the responsibility of all parties to approve the bet before it is submitted. If someone mkes an error, and I did on Friday, I sympathise but I can't even see how this was an "error" as such. It was someone who was trying to take advantage of my bets!