Black Caviar racks up $20 million on Betfair

by | 06.27.2012 | 2:08pm
Black Caviar, shown winning the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot

Black Caviar was the darling of the racing world, from Melbourne to London and all points in between. She trended on Twitter and prompted thousands of Australians to make the trip all the way to Royal Ascot to see her attempt at a history-making 22nd victory without defeat in last Saturday's Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.  There was a sellout crowd of 80,000 at Royal Ascot, and thousands more stood in Melbourne's Federation Square to watch live video of the race, obvlivous to the cold winter temperatures.

But there's another, even more tangible way to measure the popularity of Black Caviar: how much the punters bet.

According to Betfair, the equivalent of about $20 million was wagered on Black Caviar in exchange betting despite her overwhelmingly short odds. Of the 13,202,092 British pounds traded in the Diamond Jubilee's win pool, 12,605,730 – or 95% of the total – was centered on Black Caviar.

In so doing, she became the most traded horse in Betfair's 12-year history.

Betfair's starting price of 1.27 on Black Caviar (paying 1.27 for every 1 pound wagered, or roughly 2-to-7 odds) compared favorably to the industry starting price that was the equivalent of 1-to-6 with England's established (and legal) on-track and off-course bookmakers. Those who backed Black Caviar on Betfair's exchange during the in-race betting of the Diamond Jubilee got a price that drifted as high as 1.98 (nearly even money) when it appeared she was in trouble.

Trading on Moonlight Dancer, whose late rally came up just short at the wire after Black Caviar's jockey Luke Nolen relaxed his hands prematurely, fell to a low price of 2.10 (11-to-10 odds).

By comparison, in-race wagering on Frankel in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes earlier in the week dropped to a price of about 1.01 in the final furlong as he drew off to his impressive daylight victory.

How does the roughly $20 million wagered on Black Caviar compare with pari-mutuel betting on America's most popular horse race, the Kentucky Derby? In this year's Derby, a total of $56.6 million was handled nationwide in the win, place, and show pools on the 20 starters.

  • Ida Lee

    “When you’re hot, you’re hot”…and it doesn’t getting any hotter than the spectacular Black Cariar.

  • Ida Lee

    Oh no I did not do a typo with Black Caviar’s name. Shame on me.

  • May Flower

    Whoa! Horse power! American racing must protect its horses so many more are able to race, last longer and develop into good to great race horses. Black Caviar is exceptional but what was bet on her clearly demonstrates how much interest and profits well managed, feel-good horses can generate.

  • Tinky

    C’mon, Ray. Black Caviar? The story is about the vast superiority of exchange wagering over pari-mutual wagering within the context of straight wagering.

    Do you seriously believe that the huge sums traded were primarily a reflection of her popularity? A pool such as that one aren’t fueled by small bettors, but big players who are hedging and arbitraging.

    As I pointed out months ago in a post to which you linked (on PTP), there was a two-runner maiden race run at Brighton on which there was $1.7m wagered, and the favorite was 1/10. Do you imagine that it was the popularity of that forgettable horse that fueled such remarkable wagering?

  • stillriledup

     BC’s first offspring will be named Black Cariar, you heard it here first!

  • Bsip

    And how much did the tracks and horseman get.

    Not a lot.

    I bit less than 200k

  • Tom Small

    the amount wagered on exchanges is misleading and irrelevant.  Anyone who understands how exchange wagering works knows this.   The amount traded at 1.98 was about $250, and those who are taxed by the premium charge at betfair did not get 2/7, but more like 1/9….quite a worse price than bookmakers were offering.  Ray, if you’re going to practice  journalism, you should present the facts, not just a glossy advert for exchange wagering.

    I recently visited Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong.  It was a nondescript card on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  The pari-mutuel handle on the 10 race card was over 200 million USD (1.4 billion HKD).  

  • Tinky

    You’d like readers believe that the most successful betting platform in history is somehow inferior to both bookmakers and pari-mutual? Thanks for the laugh.

    Hong Kong has nothing whatsoever to do with this either Ray’s post, or the specific juxtaposition of exchange wagering and pari-mutual. Those taxed at the “premium” rate on Betfair make up a tiny minority of bettors. The vast majority of those who wagered on Black Caviar on Betfair received better odds than they could have anywhere else.

  • Tom Small

    if you plan to make a profit on betfair, plan to pay the premium tax (between 20-60+% of your profits). 

    You’re obviously a betfair shill, dinky.  Tell us about the cross-bet matching bot, the premium charge and the other ways Betfair siphon off money from bettors which the tracks get no part of.  

  • Tom Small

    I’ve met with some high ranking track executives and have given them the low-down on betfair and the importance of being “first to market”.  They plan to start their own exchange while blocking betfair through legal channels, so don’t waste too much time, money and effort….and definitely don’t buy any real estate in California…you’ll be back in the West Midlands before you know it.

    p.s. it’s pari-mutuel, not pari-mutual

  • Tinky

    You may not be aware of this, Tom, but it’s a free market out there, and while Betfair isn’t perfect, it is undeniably the most attractive wagering platform for millions of users worldwide. Why do suppose that is the case?

    If your hysterics were put into perspective, it would explain why all but a very small percentage of those who are consistently profitable on Betfair remain loyal users. In other words, while a tiny percentage of users who profit well into six figures have been pushed away by questionable Betfair policies, the vast majority of users continue to enjoy major advantages while using the platform.

    The various agreements between Betfair and racecourses has nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion. 

    And for the record, though I generally don’t respond to ad hominem attacks, I have no professional relationship with BF, never have, nor do I support all of their policies.

  • Tinky

    I would welcome a well-run exchange platform by some entity other than Betfair in the U.S., though I’m skeptical that it will happen anytime soon.

    Betfair has has a huge technological advantage, but I understand why track executives would prefer to do it themselves. 

    Furthermore, it would be stupid, frankly, to create several parochial systems around the U.S. Liquidity is crucial in such platforms, so to break them into pieces would insure that the American racing industry will continue to struggle.And thanks for the spelling correction.

  • Tom Small

     “it’s a free market out there”…….what planet do you live on?
    as far as your arguments go, you are either naive and don’t understand the dynamics or you are purposefully playing dumb.  Considering that you cited a Brighton race in another post, I’ll take evens that you’re a betfair shill.  

    p.s. why doesn’t betfair charge their poker players a premium tax??  (it’s rhetorical)

  • Blackcaveat

    The headline is grossly misleading. As has been stated here that $20 million does not nearly equate to $20 million in the WPS pari-mutuel pool. Much of it, with all due respect to Tinky, probably came from very few big players and even Betfair itself. For those who don’t know how Exchange Wagering works, and there are plenty in the U.S, players are not charged a commission on all their plays, just on their overall winnings in a particular market (race). Since the challenge is to play to win at high odds and play to lose at low odds, most real players are betting both to win and lose in the same race. They are only charged if the total of their plays shows a profit; that at 5% of which the industry gets 1/2%. Of course, those that have figured it out, which is ostensibly running a free online bookmaking operation, get charged anywhere from 20% to 60%, none of which is returned to the industry. There are few winners here, other than BF, and those that win pay dearly for that success. This story does nothing to make Exchange Wagering by Betfair more attractive to the U.S. Racing Industry.

  • Tinky

    Be sure to check back in when you are willing to address the substance of my posts, rather than launching (revealing) ad hominem attacks.

  • Tinky

    The $20m figure only doesn’t equate if you narrow your perspective down to amount contributed to the source (racecourse). That conversation is an important one, and obviously must be carefully parsed out before adopting exchange wagering in the U.S.

    But even if Betfair is involved in the market, they aren’t wagering against themselves. So $20m matched is a significant sum, especially when juxtaposed to the relatively paltry WPS pools in the U.S.

    The crux of the matter is this: exchange wagering is a superior platform for wagering on “straight pools” (and sports betting, etc.). Anyone who can’t see that is willfully blind, and Betfair has proven it with its success.

    Yes, of course the details are important, and no one is arguing that BF has the perfect model, or that it could simply apply its UK template here in the U.S.
    Finally, while I agree that BF’s high takeout on big winners is a short-sighted policy, but I cannot understand how you can seriously argue that “There are few winners here, other than BF…”, when they continue to attract heavy support from the betting public. If they weren’t the best available option, then why don’t those punters look elsewhere?

  • Blackcaveat

    The big gamblers with bots grab the best odds that BF offers, baically squeezing out the little guy. Those winners are levied at such a rate they are not big winners. I try to understand, fully, a business before I’ll trust them Currently, I do not believe what they say. I have seen their operation in the U.S., TVG, and I am underwhelmed. As has been pointed out here before, their Head Office seems to be in turmoil. This can easily been confirmed by Googling. If their company was such a great operation, their stock woud be going up not down. Enough for me not to trust them. I’ll take a wait and see attitude and hope the tracks can put in the Exchange themselves.

  • desertrailrat

     You should serve some days for overuse of the phrase “ad hominem” every time you get in an argument on here Tinky.  I have no interest in seeing exchange wagering in this country, and I am sick of the propaganda campaign by Betfair attempting to fool the public into thinking this is the magic elixir that will fix our sport.  Now I can’t even watch TVG without blowhards like Todd Shrupp trying to be “company guys”  shilling away for exchange.  Exchange wagering benefits one party only.  Betfair.  Luckily it will never happen. 

  • Tinky

    I appreciate your honesty. What BF has done with TVG may be a cause for concern in some areas, but it isn’t directly relevant to their exchange platform and core business. The stock price is a reflection of many things, including some missteps, but again, it has nothing to do with the fundamental genius of the exchange platform.

    When you say that “The big gamblers with bots grab the best odds that BF offers”, you are making an untenable claim. I say that because implied in your claim is that those big bettors are always on the right side of a trade, which of course they aren’t. While it is true that a few big bettors have left BF due to their recent take-out rise, what you argue just doesn’t add up. I know of plenty of small to medium level bettors who do well on BF, and they are quite happy to take advantage of the liquidity that the big bettors provide. And again, if it there fees were truly onerous, there would be a mass exodus, rather than the continued patronage of a huge number of users around the world.

  • Tinky

    I only use that phrase when it is warranted, and unfortunately there are plenty of people who cannot, or will not address the substance of posts.

    “Exchange wagering benefits one party only.  Betfair.” 

    That is a ridiculous assertion, as their business would dry up if there weren’t a huge number of satisfied customers who “benefit” from the product.

    Wake up.

  • Blackcaveat

    I am all for Exchange Wagering but it must be done by a company I can trust. Given the way I see Betfair operate, I would insist on someone else doing it. Enough ‘missteps’ so that I don’t trust them. The big bettors aren’t on the winning side of the trade. They are on both sides and have figured it out. That is why they are being punished by BF. I will wait until the earnings report to see how well they are hanging onto their patrons.

  • Tinky

    I’m glad to see that you are able to separate the platform (“exchange”) from the company. They are not one in the same, and many of those who comment on the topic don’t even understand that.

  • desertrailrat

     We can’t even get pari-mutual right in this country.  There are huge issues with exchange wagering that have been addressed in the SUBSTANCE of other posts on here. 
    You have gotten way too big for your britches Tinky, check yourself.  Try being a little more respectful instead of labeling opinions that dissent from yours “ridiculous” and generally being nasty and maybe you won’t have so many “ad hominem” attacks on you. 

  • Tinky

    The quote of yours in my previous post IS ridiculous, and not because it differs from my perspective, but rather because it makes absolutely no sense on its face, as I clearly explained.

  • desertrailrat

     Yes Betfair is pushing so hard just to get a chance to compete on a level playing field and “earn the business” right?  Hell no, they think and are correct in thinking that they have superior technology and have it in the bag, to quote you “wake up”.

  • Tom Small

    dinky is obviously very frustrated and angry.  He knows he will be exiled back to the cold West Midlands sooner than later.  

  • stillriledup

     This is why racing is suffering, the ‘tracks and horsemen’ are taking too much money and not enough is left over for the bettors…this is why people are betting sports instead, much lower takeout and the takeout doesnt go to support the fancy lifestyles of the participants.

  •   Hey rattrail, Atta Boy !   If you dare to disagree with Twinky you’re hysterical . Ad hominem  Ad Hominem . AD HOMINEM !!! You’re a crack up Twinky. You’d be really funny if you weren’t such a weaZel.  He’s shilling for his buddy B I . He’ll give you great odds on one he’s going to just run around the track. What a schmo !! LOL.  So you understand why I came here afterall don’t you.

     There’s no need to fear UnderDog is here !!! LOL. Twinky is gonna be takin’ it up the yang whenever I can give it to him.   

  • You use that phrase any and every time you are being made a fool of.

  •     Agreed that the tracks do take too much,buttZ … I can’t make $1500 for $12 on a football game and neither can you. People are betting sports because they aren’t intelligent enough to play this game. Learn to play better and you won’t think betting a game is better.

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