Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook have today broken from over a century of bookmaking tradition by continuing to trade their own prices for all races in Britain and Ireland until the advertised off-time.
The bookmaking giants, who now operate under parent company Flutter Entertainment, had previously priced up all British and Irish races the evening before and traded their own prices until the 'show', which was generated by on-course bookmakers, was distributed both online and to betting shops around 10 minutes before the official off time.
But the firms will now break away from an SP system that has been in operation since 1874 by offering their own prices instead of the ‘show’ prices, whilst also continuing to offer the official starting price to settle bets placed with the 'best odds guaranteed' offer.
Nearly a century and a half after the SP system was introduced, the majority of bets placed on racing in Great Britain and Ireland are still settled at SP.
This is currently defined as the ‘odds generally available to good money’ with a sample of bookmakers in the racecourse betting ring, with ‘good money’ defined as a bet to win £500.
The bookmaker claims their trials have shown that punters will get a price equal to or better than traditional board prices 75 per cent of the time. They also revealed that customers would be offered unfamiliar prices such as 24/1 or 37/1.
Paddy Desmond, director of racing at Paddy Power Betfair, said: “We will afford customers more choice by continuing to offer the official SP as a betting option whilst also continuing to use the official SP as the settlement mechanism of bets in receipt of our best odds guaranteed concession.
“Taking ownership of our prices for the duration of an event will allow us to give our customers a betting experience where odds offered are more reflective of the overall betting market.
“It will also allow us to manage the price journey, from first price offered to the start of a race, more effectively and significantly reducing periods of uncompetitive pricing, for example when a selection is showing 16/1 but our traders feel 25/1 is a truer reflection of its chance.”
Whilst no other bookmakers are understood to be considering a similar move, the SP system would come under scrutiny should others follow suit.