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Australia's Love Affair with Horse Racing
by Neil Davis

Horse racing is the most popular form of sports related gambling in Australia, although it might be fairer to say that horse racing is so popular precisely because you can bet on it! Certainly the gambling element of horse racing is an integral part of the sport and without the betting side of the industry it would not flourish as it does. Australians love to gamble and until the advent of poker machines, horse racing was the single biggest form of gambling in the country. For the recreational punter, one good bookie is all you need and Ladbrokes bonus code will get you off to a great start.

As gambling pastimes go, I would defend racing as being as one of the more healthy forms. It invites viewer interaction, (racing punters can go to the track and view the horses, follow the thoroughbred sales, talk to trainers and jockeys and so forth), it is colourful, it is exciting and it provides the financial means for magnificent animals to be trained to the peak of physical health.

This is in contrast to most casino and poker machine gambling, where games tend to be repetitive and lacking a skill element, often somewhat isolating for the gambler as well. In general I prefer forms of gambling that are not 'fixed returns', in other words you are not mathematically doomed to lose in the long run and your return depends somewhat upon on the degree of skill you exercise.

Having said that, most racing punters are long term losers, as they lack the required skill and disclipline to overcome the built in bookmaker edge. The opportunity is nevertheless there for the skilful punter to make money from racing and in fact there are plenty of examples of successful professional thoroughbred racing punters. In Australia, well known figures like Zjelko Ranogajec, Bill Benter and David Walsh made multi millions from horse racing, using their formidable intellects to devise winning strategies.

Professional racing bettors usually know a fair bit about horses and do tend to study the form, but perhaps more important even than that is a good grasp of statistics and an understanding of how the bookmaker's odds are set and influenced in the lead up to races. It is very important to get the best odds available and professionals often use their turnover as leverage to negotiate very good prices or even rebates on losing bets. The biggest punters have been known to get a small percentage of total turnover refunded by Totes, since by definition a Tote can't lose and it benefits everyone to have larger pools.

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