Saturday, 21 September 2013

Five Year Anniversary

Happy Premium Charge
I realised today that it is almost exactly five years since Betfair introduced their first Premium Charge - I believe Monday 22nd September 2008 was that inauspicious day. According to my spreadsheet, that was day 996 of my taking Betfair seriously, and my first charge was £260.21 the next week.

Tomorrow is day 2,822 of my Betfair records, so the Premium Charge has been around in some form or another for the great majority of my time on there. Looking back, that opening salvo of 20% from Betfair was quite mild. From those good old days:
Although no figures are available as to how many of Betfair's customers will be subject to the new charge, with the exchange claiming to have up to 500,000 active users, it is not expected to exceed 2,500 account holders.
I have no idea what the demographics are for Betfair's active users today, but there must be a fair, and growing, percentage of customers for whom the Premium Charge has always been there. The good news for anyone new is of course that you can, to a certain extent, design your betting so that you do not face the Premium Charge in the future, an advantage that customers at the time were not afforded. I say 'to a certain extent' because as Betfair did with the Super Premium Charge implementation, it's their game, and they can change the rules as, when and how they like, so you can never be sure. From 2008 again:
One of Elitebet shop's customers, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “The calculations are fundamentally flawed and the only resolution I can see is a mass exodus of clients to another betting exchange".
Well I'm not sure the anticipated exodus was of Biblical proportions, and certainly for many, Betfair remains the only place in town to apply profitable strategies, with many events, even if offered in play elsewhere, having close to zero in liquidity.

Ultimately this is a hobby, and it is still worth my time to make 50% of something, although 80% or 95% were preferable. As I have said before, it's the people who gave up decent jobs to trade full-time who have my sympathy. With the trading climate unlikely to improve, I imagine many are second-guessing that decision or have already returned to the workforce. Those National Insurance contributions might come in handy somewhere down the road.

My profits these days are almost exactly half of what they were pre-Premium Charge, 51.4% to be precise, but while I don't keep track of my hours spent trading, it is certainly less than it was before, and part of the decrease is for that reason.

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