Horse Racing Tips Sites in Australia: Integrity Report Findings
Aug 28, 2018 08:30 AM
Author: Mike Steward
Over the past nine years at theGreatTipOff.com we have received countless emails from punters asking us to extend our horse racing tips validation to include certain tip sites that punters have been disappointed with.
This out pouring of emotion from Australian punters led us to undertake this study.
The results are alarming to say the least.
The names, rank and scores of the 50 sites tested are available in our Details Report.
This report reveals the startling findings from each area tested.
The results will change the way that you think about betting success for horse racing.
Here's what we found:
- only 4% of the sites in the study, passed the test; the remaining sites either failed the Transparency Test, the Performance Test or both.
- just 5 out of the 50 sites assessed passed a basic transparency test involving disclosure of detailed tip results that can be easily calculated;
- odds play a significant part in the profit or loss made from tipping services; punters can experience a variances of up to 30% when betting on the tips themselves compared to the profits reported by some of the tipping sites tested; and
- there are professional tipping services in the Australian market that offer transparency and quality advice.
Whatever you've heard about Australia's professional tipping industry, the results of our study will change the way you think about betting success.
Have your say about these findings
Our study looked at two key areas that drive value to punters who take horse racing tips.
Transparency of tip results posted, and their alignment to performance figures advertised by the Tipping Service. Key elements evaluated include:
- Results are clearly posted, with enough detail to check its accuracy, updated regularly, easily accessible and calcuable and equates to advertised profit figures on the tipping site; and
- Tipster profile - is provided and identifies a real individual with credentials in the horse racing industry to instil confidence in their ability.
The profit figure used to represent the tipster's performance and the integrity of its make-up
- Profit - is clearly advertised, ideally shown as POT (profit on turnover) to allow an apples-to-apples comparison with other services, updated regularly and aligned to detailed results.
- Achievable - the odds used to calculate profit are attainable by the average punter.
The quality score for the horse racing tip service becomes a function of both Transparency and Performance together, where scoring well in only one of these areas, significantly reduces the value to the punter taking the tips.
Without transparency how can a punter put any faith in the figures advertised on the racing tip site?
And a transparent horse racing tip service that doesn't make money for the punters, or advertises irrelevant statistics, clearly doesn't add value.
Transparency, Performance and Quality scores for the 50 horse racing tipping services in our study are available in our free Details Report.
We summarise the findings from our reveiw of the 50 sites under the key measurement areas below.
Detailed Results 16% PASSED
If a horse racing tipping service is not providing you with detailed tipping history data, including results and the other data necessary to calculate their advertised profit figure, then you must question their integrity.
Why wouldn't you publicly display this information if you were providing profitable advice?
Tipping is a business where the devil is in the detail. If key results data is not made readily available on the tipping site, the advertised results can significantly deviate from the money that you actually make. We demonstrate this further on in this report.
Here are the key pieces of data we looked for on the tip site - an essential list to demand from your tipping service.
Tip selection details
At a minimum the following data should be displayed clearly on the site:
- date of the race,
- race location,
- race number,
- horse's number and name,
- the result of the race,
- odds used to calculate profit.
To demonstrate further integrity and confidence in results, the tip details should also include:
- the bookmaker where the odds were taken from, and
- the time the odds were available on the bookmaker site.
This data allows the punter to easily run their own spot checks against the race results posted on bookmaker sites and allows them to build trust in the tipping service. If up-to-date data is not available, it begs the question - Why? What are they hiding?
It's the first red flag for any punter doing due diligence on a service provider.
There's little work involved in adding posted selections to a spreadsheet, filling in the results of the race, the dividends and a cumulative profit total. Spreadsheet technology has been around for a while and makes light work of this task.
Odds and price guidance
Our study revealed that punters can experience massive variances in profitability compared to those reported by the tipping service.
In one of the cases tested, we found the site reported a profit figure which was:
- 11% higher than the profit achieved by taking the Best Tote price for each of their tips and
- 30% higher than the loss that punters experienced when taking the Lowest Fixed Odds price for each selection.
Same selections, different odds types leading to a very different outcome in the punter's betting account.
The prescribed stake on the prescribed list of tips from the tipping service in question above produced the following outcomes:
- 51% POT taking the Highest Fixed Odds with Ladbrokes for each selection (an outcome that is highly unlikely.)
- 18% POT using the tipping site's quoted odds to calculate profit as displayed in their results spreadsheet.
- 7% POT using Best Tote
- 12% loss on turnover if taking the Lowest Fixed Odds price each time.
The tipping service referred to here is revealed in our free Details Report
Our study also revealed, that the fixed odds quoted by several tipping sites which underpinned their profit figures, were higher than the fixed odds range from the single bookmaker whose odds we used*.
This data suggests that punters are required to do some shopping around with multiple funded accounts, to achieve the odds advertised by the tip site.
Have your say about these findings
Given the significance of the odds used to measure profitability, we recommend demanding the following information from a tipping service before using them:
Guidelines on odds to take
- If Fixed Odds are the recommended odds type by the tip site, then the service should advise the punter on the ideal timeframe in which to bet on the selections - for example the first few hours after posting the tips.
- If the site is quoting prices from multiple bookmakers then they should clearly communicate this as a requirement to achieve their advertised profit. We didn't find any recommended odds advice across the 50 sites reviewed.
- A clear indication of when and where their odds were sourced from - only 1 of the 50 horse racing tip sites that we studied went some way to provide this information.
- Displaying the actual prices used to calculate profitability against the selection in the results archive. If your service is not doing this than, as you can see from our results, you can experience a significant variance in financial outcome compared to the one being advertised by the tip site.
Ease to Calculate 10% PASSED
Throughout this study we continually challenged where to draw the line of fairness.
Is it entirely necessary for a site, that claims to be a professional horse racing tipping service, to provide the means for a punter to easily calculate the profits advertised?
The simple test to answer this question, again, is that if the tipping service is confident in their claims and their ability to make a profit, then why wouldn't they make it super easy to calculate the profits advertised?
Only 10% of sites tested provide enough detail about their tip history, and make it easy for punters to download the data to check the advertised profit.
Here are the key features and data which make it easy for punters to calculate advertised results on tipping sites.
Downloadable spreadsheet containing detailed results
- Only 3 of the 50 sites that we studied, offer their results in this format for their visitors to access.
- Allows the punter to easily check calculations and see how each tip result contributes to the advertised profit figure.
Profit/Loss column relating to each tip
- Allows punters to spot check the profit or loss calculation for each selection.
Running accumulated profit total resulting after each tip.
- shows the drop or gain in overall profit from each tip.
- gives the punter an easy visual analysis linking profit or loss from each tip to the overall profit figure.
Updates 12% PASSED
Punters should expect to see results that align to advertised profit results, updated daily. The profit figures should clearly disclose at which date the profit figure was achieved and the results, if provided, should align to this figure.
Understandably this may impose some administrative effort on the web site administrators but here's why it is important to the punter.
Lagging updates can hide a significant downturn in profit. This is not necessarily a reason for the punter to look elsewhere, however the potential client is entitled to know how the Tipster is going at the current time.
Only 6 sites from the 50 studied, show detailed results and update them within 14 days of the tip resulting.
Identity 36% PASSED
A big part of transparency is identity. Again - if you're good why wouldn't you want the punter who is assessing your service to have your complete background?
The more the potential client knows about the Tipster's background and experience in the horse racing industry, the more confidence the punter has in the Tipster's ability to win.
Sites using an alias' or only providing first names to retain some ambiguity, place a question mark around the authenticity of their service. If the tipping service chooses to use an alias, then you should expect them to provide some background details and experience in the racing industry at a minimum.
As obvious as that sounds only 18 sites from the 50 in the study provided passable identification. At a minimum the requirement included a name, and some background to support the claim of being a professional horse racing tipster.
Have your say about these findings
Profit Displayed 30% PASSED
Whatever the excuse may be for tipping sites to withhold details about their tip history, surely there isn't anything stopping them from posting their current profit.
Profit is the ultimate metric for any successful tipster and punter alike, and it is an essential selling point. What reason can there be not to show it?
Sites that advertise their Profit on Turnover (POT) were rated higher than those using an absolute profit (cash profit) figure as cash profit doesn't give a clear picture of the risk that a punter has to take on, to make that profit e.g. bet size, bankroll, outlay required.
Also POT allows punters to make an apples versus apples comparison against other sites that display this metric.
As obvious as it sounds to display a profit figure on a tipping site only 15 of the 50 sites reviewed were displaying profit figures when our study was performed.
Profit Displayed AND Detailed Results AND Ease to Calculate 4% PASSED
Together these three traits drive ultimate satisfaction to the punter.
The tipping site claims to make a buck (Profit Displayed) and provides supporting data (Detailed Results) which is easily formatted for the punter to self-assess (Easy To Calculate).
Across the 50 horse racing tip sites reviewed only two of them passed this ultimate test of quality. A third site which posts detailed results in an easy to calculate form, failed because they only provided month by month profit figures with several months missing, and the odds quoted showed a clear trend taking the top of the market .
How likely will a punter achieve the advertised performance?
Odds taken for profit
After verifying the tip history against the profit figures displayed for these two sites, a question mark arose about the odds used to produce the profits advertised. How realistic are they?
There are two sides to the argument here.
The Tipster will argue that they often post their tips when the price is higher in the market, well before it shortens closer to the jump. While punters taking the tip will argue that they may not be able to bet when the best odds are available.
Both sides have a point.
For the two tipping sites that passed the Transparency and Performance tests we calculated the profits that punters would have made using:
- the prices quoted by the racing tip site in their results, which drove their profit figure;
- the Highest Fixed Odds fluctuation with a single bookmaker* - this assumes the highly unlikely scenario that the punter gets the highest fixed odds every time they backed one of Tipster's selections;
- the Lowest Fixed Odds fluctuation with the same single bookmaker - assumes the punter got the lowest fixed odds every time they backed one of Tipster's selections; and
- the Best Tote price.
* Ladbrokes fixed odds high and low point was taken from the time markets opened up until the race jumped.
These varying profit calculations make up the spectrum of profit possibilities for punters taking these tips, assuming they only have one funded betting account at the time they go to place their bets.
Betting market liquidity statistics suggest that most of us are wagering in the final 40 minutes before the race jumps, so there is a greater likelihood that punters taking tips are getting closer to the starting price
We highlight this price zone below in blue as the Reality Zone which usually means less money in the punter's betting account.
The example below shows actual profits recorded using the four different odds types outlined above for one of the two Tipsters who passed the quality test. More details are given in our free Details Report which you can get here.
Punters profit spectrum - using the odds range available from a single Bookmaker
Have your say about these findings
Taking the top of the market
One site tested, amongst the few providing detailed results, was found to take the top of the Final Advertised Fixed Odds Fluctuations Range (FAFOFR) for 92% of their 36 winners in July 2018.
The Final Advertised Fixed Odds Fluctuations Range is the lowest to higest odds that appear on the bookmaker race results pages.
For 33 of the 36 winners recorded in July the odds quoted, and used to calculate their profit, were identified as follows:
- 19 winners tipped (53% of winners) were higher than the Ladbrokes FAFOFR which included 4 winners where Best Tote was quoted (i.e. Best Tote was higher than the Fixed Odds fluctuations).
- 14 winners tipped (39% of winners) were right at the top of the FAFOFR.
- 1 winner stayed steady in the market i.e. didn't fluctuate at all.
Of greater concern was that the top of the market was sometimes at the beginning of the fluctuations, at the end or in the middle.;
For these 33 winning tips we noted the following:
- 16 winners (48%) took openers where the price firmed - the best odds were the openers and the worst was the closing price.
- 14 winners (42%) took the final odds fluctuation where the price blew from the quote at the start of the range.
- 3 winners (9%) took the top price in the middle of the fluctuation range where the odds fluctuated up and down with the highest odds occurring somewhere between opening and when the race jumped.
Getting the advertised top of the market for each of the 33 winners, in our experience, is the nearest thing to impossible.
We reveal this tipping service whose results we refer to here in our free Details Report which you can get here.
Odds taken from multiple bookmakers
Our study proved that both sites that passed the overall quality test, quoted odds that were higher than the entire fluctuation range for the bookie used in testing.
This result suggests that punters will need more than one funded account to achieve the quoted prices. In one case the tipping service was upfront about this.
The question punters have to ask themselves is how achievable are the odds quoted by the tipping site?
The results for the two sites passing the overall Quality Test were as follows:
For Tipping Site 1 - 12% of the winners used odds higher than the highest odds available on Ladbrokes at any time, from when the markets opened, up until they jumped.
For Tipping Site 2 - 17% of the winners used odds higher than the highest odds available on Ladbrokes at any time, from the time markets opened, up until they jumped.
Getting the highest fixed odds from a single bookie is an almost impossible task alone for punters.
How many punters are funding multiple betting accounts, poised ready to grab these peak prices?
We did not confirm or otherwise, that the odds used for winning tips which were higher than the highest fixed odds price at Ladbrokes, were available through another bookmaker or betting exchange.
Have your say about these findings
Get our free Details Report from the study
The Details Report includes more specific details about the results from our study. Here's what you get with the report:
- the 50 horse racing tip sites named, ranked and scored for Transparency, Performance and Quality.
- ongoing updates as we continue to review these sites and any new services that enter the market.
Get the free Details Report here.
Scope of the Study
We compiled the list of sites in the review by focussing on the most popular horse racing tip services in Australia. We used Google search lists, Social Media, and tip sites mentioned in our long list of email complaints over the past nine years.
The following horse racing tipping sites and services were excluded from the study:
- horse racing blog services where form analysis was provided as part of a racing news service. If they weren't pushing themselves as tipsters, it didn't appear fair to include them in the report.
- tip aggregator sites that independently proof racing selections and bets, as we didn't want this article to be about promoting our own services;
- betting or selection systems where results are produced, allowing the punter to determine who to bet on; and
- horse racing tipsters who only post on social media.
We are committed to updating the ratings of each tipping site as changes are made. It's about keeping it fair for the punter, and so positive changes made to tip services should be rewarded, and we undertake to do just that.
This study was not sponsored or commissioned by any third party. TheGreatTipOff.com or its associated businesses do not receive any benefit from the sites listed in this report.
Best efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this report. Our assessment of the 50 sites occurred in July 2018. Changes may be made to sites after this date.
TheGreatTipOff.com is Australia's leading aggregator of horse racing tips from the racing media, professional punters and other punters that join up on the site to test their punting skills and compare themselves against the professionals.