Tuesday, 5 February 2013


This time last year, those with long memories might remember my little 'crusade' to get traders to shift over to Betdaq. I guess it was never really going to work but I did feel that more tennis traders would have made an effort to give Betdaq a try during a day when there was planned maintenance on Betfair. But my real anger was turned  onto Betdaq because when it came down to it, they did NOTHING at all to entice people over. A year on and that still rankles with me and is the reason why I haven't even mentioned Betdaq on this blog since. However, things are changing; both for me and for Betdaq. You'll all know about the Ladbrokes takeover. As per usual with these things, it has been greeted with a hint of hope but mostly downright miserable cynicism. With my Betfair P&L getting closer by the week to a premium charge situation, I now have no choice but to view this takeover with supreme hope!

The big question I have is, why would Ladbrokes takeover Betdaq unless they wanted to make money out of it? Sounds simplistic but surely the core of anything business related is to just make a profit, so why do some people think they won't make an effort to maximise this? Certain sources claim Betdaq don't even make a profit. Surely Ladbrokes, with their huge revenue as a catalyst, will want to change that? And the only way that is possible is to spend large sums on advertising and a 'robust' (I really hate using this 'management-speak' term but I feel it actually makes sense here) marketing plan. I say 'robust' because in my view, Betdaq need to be stronger in their message. Let me explain.

All they have to do to get the long term winners over, is say they won't be introducing a charge. A lot of trader's cynicism is based on the insistence that Ladbrokes will introduce one anyway at some point. This is something I think they need to address straight away. I'm sure they would be reluctant to commit to such a promise but a short-term compromise of some sort could be reached. Anyway, I think most of us would agree that this would bring over anyone who currently pays the premium charge or like me, is considering the impact of it in future.

However, it's the smaller fish that they really need to acquire. Remember what happened following introduction of the Super PC back in summer 2011? The big fish moved over in large quantities to Betdaq and for a few weeks, it seemed as though (certainly for horse racing and tennis) the revolution was finally happening. But it didn't last because the smaller players didn't also move in the required numbers and so most of the big money had no choice but to return to Betfair for easier pickings.

So thinking back to when I was new to Betfair/ a casual user/ non-profitable, what would I have wanted?  I would require an incentive to move over to Betdaq. Better commission simply isn't something that would've bothered me. I probably wouldn't have moved my bank over to Betdaq unless I saw good liquidity on markets I wanted to trade. For me, that would be tennis in-play. So in other words, unless other tennis traders moved over first, I would've been reluctant to move. I'm sure that's the same for any trader not yet paying the PC. Bit of a catch 22! So how do they get around this problem?

I've always felt that Betdaq have never done enough to ram home the fact that Betfair is a shoddy company. That is where their weakness lies - the way they treat their customers. The customer service is shocking. When the site goes down they don't void matches. They place a charge upon winners then write to us telling us it's fine cos we will 'never be a winner'. The new site is a convoluted mess that is far worse than the old one. The PC is completely unintelligible for the average person and totally against the whole ethos of the exchange model.  The list is endless yet Betdaq never seems to go for the jugular! Why so nice? I notice recently that this has changed (adverts now seem to mention Betfair's higher commission and charges much more) but it's still not enough in my book. It's not robust enough!

They should let people know in simple terms that we are getting ripped off by Betfair because they no longer adhere to the exchange model, which shouldn't ever make being a winner a problem. I would give it to them both barrels! You could argue that everyone already knows how bad Betfair are, yet still use them. It's a general apathy. Everyone wants to move over but no one wants to go first. But it's like anything to do with advertising; the more you drum it into someone's mind, the more they become brain-washed! I want to see betting folk bombarded with how crap Betfair is, day in, day out on TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, internet, football match hoardings, bus stops, massive boards over-looking bridges. It will become ingrained into our subconscious, the same way that the slogan "Betfair: where winners are welcome" *cough* became indelibly marked and the way that annoying Italian bloke with the big moustache automatically sets off  my gag reflex every time his stupid, wailing voice shatters my peace and quiet (honestly, 5 years of 'Go Compare!' finally over and now Ladbrokes bring along another one!).

Ladbrokes can even save a bit on advertising, as they can just re-use the annoying, Italian bloke, only instead of shouting "KAMMY NOOOOOOOOOOO, FOOTBALL IS OOOOOOOOOOONNN!!!" he can shout 'BETFAIR NOOOOOOOOOOOO, PREMIUM CHARGE IS WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG" or some such. I would actually incorporate the word 'mug' into this advert as much as possible, for if there is one thing that people new to betting hate to be called or associated with, it's a mug. It's tantamount to being labelled a paedophile outside of the Betfair forums - there's nothing more insulting. Have the Italian bloke screaming "PREMIUM CHARGE NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, YOU MUUUUUUUUUGGSS WHY YOU PAY THIIIIIIIISSSS??? BETDAQ IS OOOOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!'" Or some such. If he shouted this, I'd happily refrain from muting.

Why not start an exchange war, a proper, dirty battle? I guess it all comes down to money. I know people are going to tell me that Ladbrokes won't want to spend the amounts required to catch up with Betfair, and that two exchanges cannot survive successfully together, and that the "ship has sailed" and exchanges have hit their peak already, and that a thriving competitor to Betfair will only split liquidity between the two, making it harder to trade certain markets. I even had a Ladbrokes employee tell me not to expect much! But I think if you had a whole week or weekend where you offered 0% commission for betting in-play, people would come over, even if just out of curiosity as to what things will be like now Ladbrokes has taken over. Once there, we'd probably stay if liquidity was decent but we'd need to know that the original exchange model is not going to be messed with and taxes slapped on winners in future. It's the big wild-card that Betdaq has over Betfair - it's still a 100% bonafide exchange, adhering (ironically) to the original Betfair model. If Ladbrokes can find a way to exploit that situation, then why on earth can't things change?

I urge you all to be more positive and let them know exactly what they need to do. Unlike Betfair, they actually want our input, so let's give them no excuse not to earn our custom. Email them:


Julia Goerges:


  1. Im a regular user of betdaq and offer money up on their exchange. It is a shame that others are not using more frequently as the commission is lower! Seems like a no-brainer to me, although liquidity sucks even on big events!

    1. It's not a no-brainer if you can't get matched! Have you written to Ladbrokes/Betdaq?

  2. I wished they spent the money on bribing anyone that needs to be bribed in order to have access to new countries.

    If they make that their priority to win money (get more customers worldwide) instead of charging the successful ones, it's a win-win for both. I know it's not easy, but it is that simple.

    We'll see how this goes and if LB learns from other's mistakes.


    1. Not sure that bribery is the way forward! Even if it is, once you go down that route, you only open yourself up to problems in the future and no company worth its salt is gonna risk that.

    2. Oh Sultan... it was just an exaggeration. What I mean is that I hope they push their way towards opening new markets instead of charging their successful customers.

      That said, in the USA for example, there seems to be a local "mafia" pretty much interested in keeping things the way they are. They need to find a solution to that and deal with each country idiosyncrasies to expand themselves and make the exchange a global market. Then, both players and the exchange would benefit in ways we just can't imagine.

      I know it is hard, but I don't see any other way forward for this model if those kind of measures aren't given a top priority.


    3. But I can't see them trying where Betfair have already failed. Those countries just don't want them there and that won't change unless either the government changes and brings with it some new liberalism or they suddenly decide they need the revenue.

      The USA is different because it's more a religious thing there. The more liberal states like California, may well welcome exchanges one day but the deep south - never gonna happen.

      I don't think Betdaq necessarily need to open up loads of new markets. If they can take Betfair's customers away, they will be making a hell of a lot of money. It's only greed that makes Betfair charge successful customers, the PC was brought in well before they started getting booted out of all these European countries. I'm sure they will have an eye on certain US states though and maybe some Asian markets (not really sure how well known/used Betfair is in Asia).

    4. As everything in life... they'll have to try harder, not giving up.

      Getting customers from BF is ok, but last time I checked, BF revenue wasn't really astonishing. I know we call them greedy and all, but for all they manage, it's not like any investor would go crazy about them with the actual figures.

      I really don't know how the situation in Asia is, but if they don't have any legal issue they should advertise there agressively.

      I am talking as if I was a manager here... it is clear that for us tennis traders, as long as liquidity is increased and no ridiculous charges are applied, it is enough. But I dream about a truly global sports betting exchange... why not, it is free afterall ;).

    5. Maybe but they are just banging their head against a brick wall with most of these territories, it won't matter who tries to convince them that gambling online in-play is fine, they (the government) simply don't believe it is. You'd think countries like Greece and Italy would welcome the extra revenue with their economic situation, yet they have forced Betfair out! They were there once though, so you never know, it might change.

      I think everyone knows that it's the USA where the big potential is and Betfair are not giving up on that just yet. A global exchange would be great but I think the most our generation can hope for, is a few of the more liberal US states being licensed. So much for the land of the free! Can buy a deadly assault weapon but can't place a bet!

    6. Lol! If the Founding Fathers resurrected they'd be ashamed of how "free" USA is nowadays...

      On EU case I think I read there was a project to make a uniform law for all the countries. This can be good if a model similar to England's is adopted, or could be a huge drawback if a similar to France's, Spain's, etc is adopted.

      But back to the topic, in the short term I just hope Betdaq manages to grow liquidity and doesn't impose charges. For a long term plan, they may only increase revenue by attracting more customers from more countries. But as you say... I doubt we'll see any of that any time soon.
      It is all a money matter though. If they BF&BQ manage to operate in some states, maybe they can start a domino effect. But it would be hard if those customers don't stick because they see it's not far better than what they had due to absurd charges.

      So, wait and see I guess... Cheers!

      P.S: Always a pleasure talking with you. This is one of the best blogs about our little betting world. Thank you for being so dedicated!

    7. Cheers Cobo, always good to get your comments. All we can do now is write to Ladbrokes/Betdaq and give them our suggestions and hope they take them on board.

  3. Hi Sultan,

    Just spent the last hour or so reading your blog. It's like reading about my own life for the last two months. I started off with a modest bank and aimed to grow by 10% per week. This worked fine and I initially had great success and grew my total by roughly 210% over an 8 week period. Although this was well ahead of schedule I had the nagging feeling that I was gambling rather than trading. I was constantly chasing losses and I managed to recover a number of times until last week I had a big loss! I'm now down to 40% of my original bank and not sure where to go from here.

    Reading your blog made me relive the emotions from the last few weeks - the initial excitement that accompany your first wins, the confidence of believing that you've finally cracked it and the demoralising effect when you suffer a huge loss and realise that you have to start all over again. I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.

    My knew plan is to stick to my growth rate of between 5-10% per week. Hopefully I can learn to deal with losses and to not have my exposure above 3% on any market.

    Your similar experience and eventual success has given me new hope that I can do this. It's just a matter of learning to key to all of this - patience!!


    1. Hi Dan, thanks for the comment, glad I can be of service! If there is one piece of advice I would give you though, it is to ditch the growth rate expectancy. What you are saying with that, is that you expect to make profit and once you start expecting to win (especially per week, which is such a short time frame and so difficult to do consistently) that's where the problems start. I would scale down your expectancy and just concentrate on learning the markets and trying to break even.

      If you are not sure where to go next, the last thing you should be doing is expecting to profit every week. If your bank is depleted, you should adjust your stakes to fit what is left and don't expect to win back what you've lost. Just concentrate on protecting what you've got.

      Good luck!

    2. @Daniel, nothing really to add to what Sultan has already told you... I just can't stress enough to what extent that defensive mindset has to go. I thought I was being defensive until I started being REALLY defensive.

      Be patient... unless you were born for this (and most of us aren't), 8 weeks is just the start; you can't really expect to win. If you like this, keep working, not to win, but for acquiring knowledge.

  4. Sultan - i think what you really want is for losers from Betfair to move over to Betdaq.
    Successful and profitable traders need losers on the opposite end of their trades after all. As losers don't and aren't likely to be affected by the Betfair PC then there really isn't any incentive for them to move.
    Can you imagine all the successful tennis traders on Betdaq looking at the same edge and same "value" entry/exit points - it couldn't work without the unsuccessful ones who have no idea about entry/exit points or "value".............

    1. Hi G, that is exactly what I said in my post! I didn't call them 'losers' though. They are 'new traders' or 'not currently profitable' because all winners were losers at some point.


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