Golf Editorial

Pathetic Tournament Golf Outright Bet Offerings

Opening Comments

The paltry number of tournaments to bet on each week is something that has mystified me for many years. Why are so few on offer? And all industry sectors are equally pathetic.

Exchanges are the worst because they don’t even take on any risk exposure when offering a golf tournament to bet on!

In respect of bookmakers, their reluctance can’t be that they’re worried about losing money betting on golf events. If that were their logic, they wouldn’t bet on anything!

It can’t be that there is no interest in golf betting among their client bases or, more importantly, the clients they don’t have! So WHY?

What is required to enable betting on golf tournaments?

Is it difficult to offer betting on golf? The fields are large but a bookmaker quickly builds up a database of player names and performances, so creating a tournament soon becomes quick & easy. What else is needed?

There is only a small set of requirements that must be satisfied before a betting organisation can offer golf tournament betting. They are as follows:

i) Fields available at least two days prior to tournament starts to allow sufficient time for betting. This rules out the LAGT (Ladies Asian Golf Tour) and the PGTI (Indian men’s tour) on the a timeliness basis and the Japan Ladies Tour owing to website language barriers;

ii) Live-scoring available, and preferably some televised coverage, so clients can follow the progress of their bets over the 3-4 days;

iii) A professional governing body that is qualified to run tournaments to an acceptable global standard;

iv) Fields of professionals that have had some regular exposure to reasonable quality golf, so meaningful form exists and betting prices can be computed.

v) Easy, timely, access to results.

So, which tours are suitable for betting?

Jeez, I’ve knocked at least 20 pro tours out of contention already! What’s left to bet on?

Don’t despair; let’s take a look at the tours that meet all the above criteria, segmented on a regional basis:

Americas

PGA Tour

Canadian Tour (WebDotCom-feeder)

Latinoamerica Tour (WebDotCom-feeder)

WebDotCom Tour (PGA-feeder)

LPGA Tour

Symetra Tour (LPGA feeder)

Champions Tour

Asia

Asian tour

OneAsia Tour

JGTO (Japan Mens)

PGA Australasian

ALPG (Australasian Ladies)

Africa

Sunshine Tour

Europe

European Tour

Challenge Tour (European Tour-feeder)

LET (Ladies European Tour)

European Seniors Tour

EuroPro Tour

Alps Tour

So, to summarise, we have a set of 19 professional golf tours where all of their tournaments meet all our minimum criteria for betting to be offered.

That means, outside those somewhat quieter but still active months, from November to March, that in a typical week there will be 10 tournaments on which to offer betting. Often more, rarely less.

So, we now have a perfectly clear measure now of how well your betting business is serving you on golf betting. How many of those 10 can you bet on each week?

Rate your Bookmaker or Exchange’s Tournament Breadth

In a typical week, the excellent operator will offer 8+ tournaments for betting and sometimes more! I’ve only seen Skybet beat 8 several times recently.

However, Skybet’s breadth, and timeliness in opening markets, is tainted as I can’t access its site from either of my bases: Australia & Indonesia.

In my opinion, any betting organisation out there (that you can bet with) that is consistently offering more than 6 tournaments in any week is in the excellent category.

It’s difficult to rate and compare bookmakers right now with no golf on, so instead let’s focus on what the minimum acceptable menu of tournament coverage should contain; the Tours from which every tournament should be offered for outright betting.

I’ve simply approached this by taking the list above and dividing it into two groups: the must-have’s (what I regard as a minimum performance standard) and the nice-to-have’s (all of which the excellent operators will offer, or at least those of relevance to their clients):

Must-Have’s (12)

PGA Tour

WebDotCom Tour

LPGA Tour

Champions Tour

Asian Tour

OneAsia Tour

JGTO (Japan Mens)

Sunshine Tour

European Tour

European Challenge Tour

European Seniors Tour

LET (Ladies European Tour)

Nice-To-Have’s (5)

Symetra Tour (LPGA feeder)

Canadian Tour (PGA-feeder)

Latinoamerica Tour (PGA-feeder)

Australasian Mens Tour

ALPG Tour (Australasian Ladies)

I should add that the above divisions derive from a wholistic global perspective.

If your bookmaker is serving the Americas then it should include the 3 USA-feeder tours and could safely ignore the European Challenge, LET & European Seniors.

Vice versa for a European-facing bookmaker.

Australian bookmakers should offer betting on their two local tours; South African bookmakers should offer Big Easy Tour betting.

Why Don’t Bookmakers offer Betting on all of these Tours?

To find out, I today asked three large betting organisations who don’t; one in Australia, one in the UK and one Caribbean ‘outlaw’.

All said the same thing, “There is no interest in betting on them!”

Oh well, they were unanimous, so that must be the answer! Right?

Wrong!

The first staggering (for me anyway) fact to emerge was that the decisions on what to bet on in all three organisations (with their raft of: superfluous lawyers, pimple-faced business analysts, quavering risk managers, corporate compliance dweebs, grey middle management do-nothings & the inevitable squad of frowning, humourless, bean-counters) are made by one person!

Not a person drawn from one of the above categories, but a senior bookmaker or Sports Manager (who’s typically just a bookmaker with a bigger pay cheque!)

In other words, important decisions like what to bet on are made by a person supremely well qualified to conduct betting but typically a one-dimensional expert hardly likely to be well-versed in the intricacies of: business dynamics, new client recruitment, geo-target marketing, psychographic segmentation, managing contraction or growth or business process re-engineering!

In fact, the average for these three huge organisations, at the busiest times for golf betting, is 3.5 golf tournaments per week. That’s 3 or 4 per week! That’s pathetic! A joke! Imbecilic! Unjustifiable! Madness! The criminals are running the prison!

To illustrate the insanity that passes for logic within these large betting organisations, let’s take a quick look at what they DO bet on.

All of these bookmakers bet on more than 150 football (soccer) leagues each week; one bets on nearer 180! When I asked them why, they all said more or less the same thing, “Football betting is huge!”

Oh well, they were unanimous, so that must be the answer! Right?

Wrong!

You can draw your own conclusions about the decision-making capacity of persons in betting organisations who will happily bet on lower league football, and only write a decent quantum of bets when they’ve made a pricing error or there’s a fix in place, but who won’t even contemplate betting on a professionally managed golf tour, such as the LET, with good quality participants competing in 20 countries each year!

Yet these same anti-golf bookmakers will bet on backwater football of barely professional quality where match payments are so low that the players of both teams can unite and make more money each week fixing their matches than they get paid for playing them! And they get paid twice! Nice gig!

Don’t bother telling me soccer match-fixing doesn’t occur! I’ve managed several international bookmaking businesses and know the score. I have even met (in Scandinavia, incidentally) some players who were paid the equivalent of $100 per match who routinely fixed matches – to the detriment of my company!

So, bookmakers will bet on shit football (cos football betting is HUGE) but won’t bet on golf tournaments cos they KNOW (geniuses that they are!) that nobody is interested in betting on them!

I’ll leave it there as I’m obviously getting hot under the collar now about so-called professional managers ceding a strategic component of their businesses to bookmakers!

I should also apologise to all those bookmaking managers, everywhere in the world, who I may have offended with my above comments.

So, I offer an unreserved apology to those decision-makers who are actually already providing a quality golf tournament betting service to their clientele.

What Can We Do?

Start a petition? I don’t think so.

Complain? Will they listen when they already know the answer and that we’re wrong?

I don’t have any magic answer, at least for now, but will keep ranting.

Cheers, seasonal good wishes to all and good luck with your golf betting in 2013. Use this golf betting hiatus to invest some hours in the people who really matter!

Cheers, Mike

 

© Copyright Mike J Miller 24 December 2012