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4/6/2004 edition

Tabcorp Takeover of TAB Ltd.

Will punters be better off?

Recently there has been a lot of propoganda being fed to punters based upon how bigger betting pools are better for you. Like all the propoganda we have seen it is mathematically flawed. We also haven't seen any racing journalist tackle the real issues that will determine whether punters are in reality any better off after the TAB merger.

The simple answer is that punters will not be better off unless tote deductions are reduced. If 15 cents in the dollar is deducted from a $100,000 pool then punters will lose $15,000 dollars which is 15% on turnover. If 15 cents in the dollar is deducted from a pool of $200,000, then punters will lose $30,000 dollars, which is still 15% on turnover. If 15 cents in the dollar is deducted from a much bigger pool of $1,000,000, then punters will lose $150,000 dollars, which of course is still 15% on turnover.

You, the punter will only be better off if the tote takeout is reduced.

If the tote takeout is not reduced, then no amounts of improved betting information given to you by the TAB will make any difference for tote punters. You will all be competing on the tote against all the other punters with access to the same betting information in betting pools which guarantees the same loss on betting turnover by punters as before the TABs merged.

Questions that need to be asked are:

1. Will the merged TABs no longer pay some punters just $1.00 money back for a winning bet? If so, will they also ensure that no other payouts are reduced?

It's been reported in the Herald Sun, Tuesday, June 1, by Tim Habel that "Victorian punters will have the bonus of a minimum $1.05 dividend under the Tabcorp-NSW TAB Ltd. merger." That will bring it "in line with the NSW TAB's policy of a minimum win and place dividend."

Our immediate response was to ask "Why are you calling that a bonus?" Since when is getting $1.05 for a $1.00 winning bet instead of just getting your money back for a winning bet a bonus? If any TAB refuses to give you a profit on a winning bet then does it have any no moral right accepting that bet?

It was also reported that there will be rules to "prevent exploitation of the minimum dividend. For example, a $10,000 bet on a long odds-on favourite will return a money-back dividend."

No rules are needed. At worst the bet should simply not be accepted. No TAB can have its cake and eat it - accept a $10,000 bet, keep the $10,000 should the bet lose, but should the bet win just simply return the $10,000. That is immoral and it should be made illegal.

There's no certainties in betting. For anyone even trying the "exploitation" of the $1.05 dividend to just break even long term, 20 out of every 21 bets have to be successful? That's no easy task.

2. Will the merged TABs no longer round down dividends? If so, will they also ensure that no other payouts are reduced?

The TABs work out the dividend for 50 cents, then double it and declare the payout for $1.00. Somehow 54.99 cents is rounded down to 50 cents. The 50 cents is doubled and so we get the money back $1.00 dividend for a $1.00 bet instead of $1.10. Similarly 59.99 cents is rounded down to 55 cents. The 55 cents is doubled and so we get a $1.10 dividend for a $1.00 bet instead of $1.20.

By what right do the TABs round down all payments they owe to their customers, the punters, race after race, day after day? It seems that our currency rounding laws that apply to other businesses don't apply to the TABs when it comes to paying their clients moneys due to them from winning bets.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Tabcorp takeover of TAB Ltd. - will punters be better off?
Get those betting odds
Betting favourites in small fields
Money talks - Randwick, Moonee Valley, betting tips from the track
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 28/5/2004
Punt to Win index

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