Ladbrokes Coral end 'commercially nonsensical' paper price guarantee
Coral and Ladbrokes will no longer guarantee to lay the prices displayed in newspaper adverts for a limited period on racedays.
The bookmakers had previously honoured the prices appearing in printed adverts at 8.30am on the day of the race, but have labelled the practice "commercially nonsensical".
Simon Clare, speaking on behalf of Ladbrokes Coral, said: "These days more feature races than ever before are being priced up several days before the race, and prices are constantly moving from the time they are first published until the race going off.
"Given this context, to then guarantee to lay an advert price, that was finalised some 16 hours earlier due to newspaper print deadlines, often means the bookmaker ends up with precisely the opposite position in the market to the one intended. It is not only commercially nonsensical but also a hindrance to providing a modern and professional betting service on horseracing to our customers."
Betting firms have increasingly moved away from guaranteeing to lay paper prices, with more and more punters using the flexibility of online sites to place bets at any time.
While no longer assuring punters bets will be taken at the advertised paper price, Ladbrokes have joined Coral in promising to lay any horse in all ITV races from 9am on racedays to lose up to £5,000.
The offer applies only to bets placed in shops, and Clare added: "While the advertised price guarantee will no longer apply, we are fully committed to laying decent bets to customers on all the best races on all our betting channels.
"By offering this guarantee, larger-staking customers will be safe in the knowledge they can back any horse in any major race to win at least £5,000.
"Due to the challenge of trading volumes of bets in a very short time period, it's not possible to extend such a guarantee to our digital channels."
Regrettable but inevitable in new betting landscape
Bruce Millington, editor
All good things must come to an end. Chaucer made that observation in 1374 and in 2017 it still holds true where the bookmakers' Pricewise guarantee is concerned.
A number of operators will still stand their overnight prices for a brief period the following morning, but the announcement from Ladbrokes Coral that they will no longer lay the prices they released in time for the newspaper to be printed means access to what are in effect out of date odds is now offered by a minority of bookmakers.
It is regrettable but inevitable. When Pricewise was conceived in 1987 there was no internet betting and, except for the very biggest races, no prices were available until the shops and telephone offices opened.
Now virtually all the races featured in Pricewise have been traded for many hours or even days before the morning of the day on which they are run, meaning markets are liable to significant change between the compilers sending their prices to us and them being offered the following morning.
A respected judge
Those firms that still revert to the prices that appear in the newspaper are doing their customers a big favour. Those that no longer do so cannot be expected to, although hopefully they will be as bold as possible in their trading strategies and will be less inclined to limit stakes now they are no longer prone to having to in effect write a significant cheque to the arbing community every week.
As for the Racing Post, Tom Segal will continue to tip under the Pricewise banner and will hopefully continue to churn out the winners that have made him such a respected judge down the years. And we will now express individual tipsters' profit/loss figures based on SP, even though better value will almost always be available through a combination of the competitiveness of the morning markets and the best odds guarantee.
Meanwhile, a number of firms still offer to revert to the overnight prices (see the betting section at the foot of the racingpost.com home page), and long may that be the case.
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