Thursday, 24 February 2011

Betfair Woes

So close! With the Total Charges at 19.96%, I fell just shy of avoiding the Premium Charge first the first time this year. A little more effort this week, and no big wins, should put me over that threshold, although I'll take the big win and the extra payment if I have a choice!

It doesn't look as if it'll be the Utah Jazz giving me that next big win though. After losing their coach of twenty plus years a couple of weeks ago, they have now traded their best player Deron Williams to New Jersey, a move which makes sense long-term for the franchise, if not for the immediate future. So the heart of the team that was capable of coming back from double digit deficits is ripped out, and I expect them to finish the season rather lamely. Last night they played in Dallas, and I had the Mavericks value at 1.95 giving 9.5. Dallas won by 19 on a night where I went five out of six on the handicaps, with just the New York Knicks letting me down on Carmelo Anthony's debut. I needed them to win by 6.5, and they won 114-108.

When I was growing up, the West Indies were a force to be reckoned with in cricket, but not these days. South Africa looked very generous at 1.4, and while they drifted out to about 1.7, West Indies never looked like winning. Australia look value at 1.45 v New Zealand in the next game, and with a view to a trade, England look worth a bet at 3.0 v India, but be warned that trading cricket is not really my forte.

Meanwhile, Betfair's share price continues to slide, and with continuing problems with their web site over the past few weeks, (which Betfair fail to explain), their PR department must be overworked. The Casino Happy Hour promo from a few months back is about to be ruled upon by the Advertising Standards Authority which could further damage their reputation.

The huge furore than ensued towards the end of last year following an apparently botched Betfair promo seems to have triggered one or more public complaints with Britain's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Association.

In response to an enquiry this week, ASA spokesman Matt Wilson advised: "Further to your query, the ASA did launch a formal investigation into the Betfair "Casino happy hour promotion". We will be publishing our findings in this case shortly."

Players on gambling message boards across the internet posted numerous complaints that Betfair not only withdrew an apparently badly designed promo that gave players an advantage, but subsequently made a number of controversial decisions regarding player account balances, despite the fact that the punters involved claimed they had complied with the promo T&Cs.

In one now infamous incident, a Portuguese player claimed that Euro 32 000 was 'reclaimed' from his bank account by the gambling group, an occurrence that motivated him to launch complaints with a slew of banking & licensing jurisdictions & trade associations.

The situation was further exacerbated by the lack of general & public statements on the row by Betfair - a surprising omission given the high level of complaints & the ill-will which greeted the manner in which the debacle was handled.

This sort of issue is not without precedent in the industry; one of the more memorable cases occurred some years ago when a major online gambling group erred on a promotion, & absorbed the consequent multi-million dollar costs itself rather than passing them on through disqualifications on players who had taken part.

The outcome of the ASA investigation will be keenly followed by the player community. Although the ASA lacks real teeth in a punitive sense, its decisions receive wide publicity, and an adverse finding against Betfair could exacerbate an already bad PR problem.
Now if only someone could get the Premium Charge ruled unlawful, and Betfair have to repay that money. That would be a nice windfall!


Mark said...

Hi Cassini absolutely love the blog and I usually agree with your 'value' picks. I'm pleased to see however that you confess cricket is not really your forte as I can only see Australia as a value lay at 1.45, whether backing or trading.

I can see the NZ top order taking apart the run of the mill Aussie attack in P1. Whether that is in the first or second innings I still see the aussies trading well above 1.45.

Cheers, keep up the excellent blog

Mark said...

Woops! Maybe cricket is more your forte than mine.

Cassini said...

They did trade at 1.5 briefly, so that part was correct!