Leading online betting site BetVictor has pledged to guarantee to lay all its horse racing bets to lose £500, becoming the first major operator to incorporate a blanket lay-to-lose policy online.
Calling the offer ‘Guaranteed Bet’, BetVictor is going to guarantee any bet on every British and Irish horse race to lose up to £500 - regardless of grade. The offer opens at 11am on the day of the race, and will appear as a separate Guaranteed Bet market, featuring alongside existing extra markets.
It applies to both win and each-way bets, and was on Monday described as a ‘forward-thinking’ move by Horseracing Bettor Forum (HBF) chair Matt Bisogno. He said:
“For the first time with a major operator, punters will be able to back any horse to win a minimum of £500 regardless of the class of race. Today’s announcement is an extremely positive step forward for British and Irish racing bettors as well as a palpable demonstration of BetVictor’s commitment."
“HBF believes the Guaranteed Bet provision represents a forward-thinking approach, and we further hope it encourages other operators to enhance their offering to horse racing bettors.”
Horse racing bookmakers have been under pressure from the British government and HBF for some time to increase their risks, and provide fairer betting environments for customers. The landscape has shrunk in recent years, with bookmakers often refusing to lay successful punters, and imposing maximum stake limits on bettors. This is now changing for the better.
In April, major betting firm Ladbrokes fell in line with sister company Coral. It had been guaranteeing to lay bets to lose at least £5,000 on all races broadcast on UK television channel ITV, from 9am on the morning of the race.
Ladbrokes extended that offering to guarantee to lay win bets to lose £2,000 on Class 4 or above handicaps, and Listed, Group and Graded races to lose £2,000 from 11am. They also introduced a minimum lay-to-lose for £500 on any other British or Irish race.
A week later William Hill followed suit, mirroring Ladbrokes and Coral with a £5,000 minimum for win bets placed in betting shops on all ITV Racing events, and it went a step further by offering a guarantee to online betting customers - £1,000 on ITV races.
William Hill also brought forward the opening time of it’s guarantee to 10am, giving punters an extra hour to avail of the lay-to-lose offer. They were the first firm to provide customers with any kind of minimum bet guarantee online. Ladbrokes and Coral said that the nature of online markets made it difficult to manage books on a bet-by-bet basis - control they say is necessary when guaranteeing bets for large sums.
GVC Holdings group, owner of Coral and now Ladbrokes, trialled guarantees on terrestrial television races with Coral from as far back as 2013, learning how to manage associated liabilities effectively through that company before offering guarantees with Ladbrokes.
BetVictor also intends to operate a trial period, but believes it will be minimal and that it has scope to extend amounts and duration of bets. 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.”
Both ‘First Past the Post’ and ‘Official Result’ will be paid on the Guaranteed Bet market, however, other horse racing offers like Best Odds Guaranteed, Run for Your Money, and additional ‘each way’ place terms will not apply. If you're interested in learning more check out BetVictor today.