Online bookmakers accept bets at fixed odds on a huge range of events including horse racing, greyhound racing, sports and election results. The betting opportunities are similar to those offered by on-course and off-course bookmakers. The range of bets available include single, multiple, each way, forecast and tricast bets.
For horse racing at the bookmaker’s website, you can find details of the race cards, prices, ratings, naps, form and statistics. Live commentaries of the races are given. The services are offered in a number of languages and bets can be made in a choice of currencies. Minimum stakes vary but can be as low as 1 p. Maximum stakes and payouts vary from bookmaker to bookmaker so you should check the rules if you intend to make large bets. Many bookmakers also provide an online bet calculator so that you can easily work out your payout. Some bookmakers also give you the opportunity to see the odds as fractions or as decimals. This makes it easier to compare prices with betting exchanges. The bookmakers also provide price alerts that can be sent to you via email or mobile phone so that you can keep track of any changes.
Like a traditional bookmaker, there is a profit for the firm built into the prices of around 17 per cent.
How prices are determined
A bookmaker uses an expert called a handicapper to assess the chances of each runner in the race. The handicapper will consider a number of factors to determine the chances of each horse. Things like pedigree, recent performance, the jockey, weight carried and the condition of the ground will be taken into account. A book of prices is then made depending on the assessment. The runner that he thinks is most likely to win will have the lowest price and is called the favourite. Occasionally, two runners are deemed to have an equal chance of winning. They will have the same price and be called joint favourites. If several, runners have the same lowest price, they are called co-favountes.
The prices of the horses in a race can vary enormously. Just because a horse has a large price it does not mean that it will not win. In 1990 Equinoctial won at Kelso at a price of 250/1 – the longest odds recorded in British horse racing.
The initial prices offered are called tissue prices. This is just a preliminary indication of the prices and they tend to be a conservative estimate of a horse’s chance of winning. Once bets have been made the prices are said to have been layed. This means a betting market has been made. The prices then change depending on how much money is bet. The prices do not show the chances that a horse has of winning. Instead, they reflect how much money has been bet on them. The horse attracting the greatest amount of money in bets will have the lowest price. The horse attracting the least amount of money will have the highest pnce. Horses with high pnces are called outsiders or rags.
When prices are quoted for a race, the odds for some outsiders may not be given. Instead, a bar price is shown. This means that all the horses not quoted in the betting are at a higher price than that given in the bar. For example, in a 10-runner race, prices may be given for seven of the runners and a bar price of 25/1. This means that the other three horses all have a price of greater than 25/1. If rou want to place a bet on one of the unquoted horses, you will need to agree a price with the bookmaker.