Decimal Odds Notation Causes Controversy

Published Friday, January 08, 2010 -

Mixed reactions have been reported in the U.K. over the move to introduce decimal odds notation in betting shops. Online bookmakers, such as Betfair, have dealt mostly in decimal odds or offered customers the choice between fractional and decimal information, the move marks a distinct break with the traditional notation of fixed-odds betting.

Horse racing is going through big changes and this is one that seems to be making the punter a little nervous. Spokesperson for Ladbrokes, David Williams, said, "Anything that will help slow down or reverse the trend that has seen people moving away from racing has to be welcomed," adding, "The only people who will object to it are people who don't want to be part of the future."

William Hill spokesperson, David Hood, had another opinion, "The items revealed by Racing for Change do not offer the solutions we had hoped for," "We had a trial of a decimal-odds football betting coupon two years ago and it proved to be extremely unpopular. There is no research to indicate that our customers want it."

Independent bookmakers that are at the track were disappointed that they had not been asked about the proposals before they were revealed and were concerned that a switch to decimal odds would minimize their margins even further, with punters less willing to accept smaller odds on each-way bets than they would get in a betting shop. Independent bookmaker, Geoff Banks, said, "We were not consulted, and I don't believe the committee has any experience of on-course bookmaking. The margins are going to be squeezed very tight. I am far from convinced this will work; in fact, it will be destructive."

Other changes to be introduced are little things like including the first names of jockeys and trainers on race cards. These changes seem insignificant to the average punter, a reduction in the price of admission at the track would do much more to boost attendance for racing venues most officials agreed. Racing for Change, is a project being led by Racing Enterprises Ltd, the sport's commercial arm.



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