Betfair Invests in Mobile Software

Recently Betfair has announced their support program for mobile software developers. To encourage developing of mobile bots, Betfair offers a share in it’s commission revenue.

Any vendor who sells mobile software for Betfair will receive 5% of Betfair commission generated by all users betting with the software. The group of mobile platforms consist of Apple OS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. The software has to use Betfair API and pass certification process.

The offer is valid until 30th April 2012.

At the moment there is not many Betfair programs developed for mobile devices, so hopefully this new initiative will change the things.

Betfair API

From Wikipedia: “An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules and specifications that a software program can follow to access and make use of the services and resources provided by another particular software program that implements that API.” In other words API is a kind of protocol which a software developer can use to create software that works with a particular service (API provider).

Betfair has it’s own API to allow software developing companies make software which access Betfair’s data. In this case Betfair is service provider and other companies are clients to it’s services. The API can be used in different programming languages which support web services. It can be utulised even in Excel.

The API has been designed for two purposes. First is to give vendors a unified, not html-dependent way to make Betfair software. Second is to control increasing number of software and minimize security risks for users who use the software. The second purpose is achieved by requirement to pass certification process to access API for every redistributable software.

There are Free API (personal) and Vendor API (commercial). Commercial API is dedicated for software vendors who want to distribute their software to other users. Usually it’s a trading software or software for tipsters. It’s goals are speed and manageability. You have a vendor control panel where it’s possible to manage Betfair users who can use your software. However Vendor API costs 200 GBP per month to a vendor. Free API doesn’t have any charges, but the number of requests is limited. For instance, it’s not allowed to request market prices more than 60 times per minute. Here is the official Betfair page comparing these two APIs.

Free API can be easily accessed by anyone who has some programming knowledge. There are free samples which demonstrate how to utilise the Betfair API.

Betfair vs Betdaq

Betfair and Betdaq have been the most popular online betting exchanges. Which one is better? Here are my pros and cons for both.

Liquidity.

Well, Betfair still holds the first position in regards to traded volumes. You will find that amounts of money available on Betfair are higher then on Betdaq. It’s not a critical difference unless you bet thousands of pounds in a single bet though. Medium traders will not have any problems with liquidity on Betdaq.

Software and Bots.

Before, when Betdaq was not so popular, Betfair has got leadership in it’s API development and there were much more bots for Betfair than for Betdaq. Nowadays this difference is not so big, Betdaq API is well designed and many companies offer their software in two versions – for Betfair and Betdaq, like Betsender. Some vendors even provide their Betdaq software for free. But I have to admit that because of Betfair’s popularity, vendors still develop more bots for Betfair than Betdaq. You still can find a good Betdaq bot though.

Fees and Charges.

This is where Betdaq is better than Betfair. Although, both exchanges have the same base commission of 5%, Betfair have additional commissions which may be hidden and not too clear to all traders. First, is Betfair’s transactions and data charges. You will not not be charged if you bet on Betfair’s website, but you can be badly surprised if you decide to bet or trade with Betfair bots. Betfair will charge you for excessive data requests and this can turn out in a considerable amount of money. Second, is Betfair’s premium charges. Successful traders who make consistent profits are liable for these premium charges which Betfair takes out from winnings. Although, most of people are not about for this, many top traders have big concerns for this rule. Both Betfair and Betdaq have a system of discounts depending on your betting activity. Betdaq sometimes run special promotions, for example, at the moment all UK and Irish in-play horse racing events have 2% commission.

Deposits and Withdrawals.

Both exchanges have similar rules for deposits and withdrawals. You can deposit with PayPal, debit and credit cards, bank transfers and other electronic methods. One rule applying here is that you must withdraw to the same source that you used for deposit. Almost all deposits and withdrawals are free or have a small commission around 1.5%.

Look and Features.

Personally I prefer Betdaq for it’s professional look and less aggressive ads campaigns. One other Betdaq’s advantage is more options and features available through the web interface. For instance, you can choose odds format (decimal, fractions or american), back or lay all selections at particular price, single click betting, trading history, free tips and many others. Also the minimum stake on Betdaq is £0.5 against £2 on Betfair.

Other thoughts.

I remember Betfair crashing several times. Markets were suspended and traders were unable to trade in-play. There were problems with long delays, Betfair freezed and worked slow because of high volume of requests at times of big events like Cheltenham festival. Hopefully it’s all fixed and will not be a problem in future. I don’t know if such problems were on Betdaq though, because I spent most time with Betfair.

My conclusion.

I think if liquidity is not critical, you should seriously consider Betdaq as your betting exchange. There is a lot of trading software for Betdaq at the moment and many of them are free.  Betdaq does not charges hidden fees and is more friendly to users. If you can’t find a software with required features or liquidity on your 1st place, you should look at Betfair.

Betfair Odds

Everything I know about Betfair odds.

1. Betfair displays odds in decimal format, i.e. 2.00, 4.20, 10.5.

2. Betfair odds can be anything between 1.01 and 1000.

3. Winnings for BACK bet are equal to Stake * (Odds – 1).

4. Your bet will be matched at best available odds. For example, if you place BACK bet at 1.80 and there is money at 2.00, your bet will be matched at 2.00 instead 1.80.

5. Odds are often called “prices” on Betfair betting exchange.

6. On Betfair there are specific odds ranges with own minimum increments. These minimum increments usually called “ticks”.

From 1.01 to 2.00 one tick is equal to 0.01.

From 2.02 to 3.00 one tick is equal to 0.02.

From 3.05 to 4.00 one tick is equal to 0.05.

From 4.1 to 6.0 one tick is equal to 0.1.

From 6.2 to 10.0 one tick is equal to 0.2.

From 10.5 to 20.0 one tick is equal to 0.5.

From 21 to 30 one tick is equal to 1.

From 32 to 50 one tick is equal to 2.

From 55 to 100 one tick is equal to 5.

From 110 to 1000 one tick is equal to 10.

So there are no 2.21 odds on Betfair, instead there are 2.20 and 2.22 odds. Odds like 4.15, 6.7, 22.5, 57, 995 are all invalid on Betfair. If you try to place a bet at these odds it will be rejected.

7. You can see the latest prices on Betfair only if you have an “active funded account”. Otherwise Betfair will show prices with small latency and they will be outdated. Here is what Betfair writes about this on it’s site:

Only customers logged into an active funded account will be able to view the latest Betfair prices. We do this to discourage extreme usage of Betfair website data by software programs that don’t use Betfair to bet. Your account becomes an ‘active funded account’ the first time you make a deposit.

Betfair Formulas

In this post I will be collecting all formulas that may be useful in Betfair trading.

Profit for BACK bet

Profit = Stake * (Odds – 1)

Profit for LAY bet

Profit = Stake

Loss for BACK bet

Loss = Stake

Loss for LAY bet

Loss = Stake * (Odds – 1)

Deadheat profit/loss for BACK bet

PL = (Stake / 2) * (Odds – 1) – (Stake / 2)

Deadheat profit/loss for LAY bet

PL = (Stake / 2) – (Stake / 2) * (Odds – 1)

How to calculate LAY stake from given liability

Stake = Liability / (Odds – 1)

How to calculate BACK stake from given target profit

Stake = Target Profit / (Odds – 1)

How to calculate BACK stake for equal greening up. Assuming that you have a lay bet at LayOdds and want to trade out at higher BackOdds to make a situation with equal profit for win and lose results.

LayWinPL = LayStake * (LayOdds – 1)
LayLoosePL = LayStake
BackStake = (LayWinPL + LayLoosePL) / BackOdds

How to calculate LAY stake for equal greening up. Assuming that you have a back bet at BackOdds and want to trade out at lower LayOdds to make a situation with equal profit for win and lose results.

BackWinPL = BackStake * (BackOdds – 1)
BackLoosePL = BackStake
LayStake = (BackWinPL + BackLoosePL) / LayOdds

How to find a chance % of selection to win from it’s odds

Chance = 100 / Odds

How to convert fractions to decimal odds

Fractions: A/B

Decimal = A / B + 1

Betfair Betting

Today the online sports betting is most promising. No need to go out to place your wager. You can bet sitting at home, thanks to online exchange services like Betfair. Moreover you can trade, just like on a stoke market. Betfair allows you to make a “Back” bet to win and “Lay” bet to lose. This means that if your selection loses you actually make money. So placing, for example, two opposite bets (Back and Lay) on the same selection, but at different odds you are making guaranteed profit which is as big as the difference in odds between Back and Lay bets. This is very similar to normal stock markets, that’s why many traders in online sports betting are saying “price” instead “odds”. And sports events are usually called “markets”.

If you open Betfair market in your browser, you will see what I mean:

betfair market

If it’s your first time at Betfair, you may need to click “Exchange” link on the top (next to “Live Video”, “Radio” and “Tote”). Also make sure you have ticked “Back & Lay” and “Market Depth” boxes. Without this your market will look like an ordinary race form.

So, on the above image you see three Back and three Lay boxes for each runner with available odds (prices) and amount of money available at this odds. As long as Betfair is betting exchange where people bet one against another, the amount that can be matched at BACK odds is limited by amount that other people are offering to trade at this odds. In our example if you would have placed a BACK bet of $200 at 4.8, $197 would have been matched and $3 have remained unmatched until someone would place a LAY bet at this odds.

From trading point of view you can think about BACK betting as “selling” and LAY as “buying”. So to make profit you should “buy” at low price and sell at high price (the order doesn’t matter really, you can first sell and then buy). Sports betting markets on Betfair are volatile, prices usually change up and down in matters of minutes. When a race goes in-play prices can dramatically change even in fractions of second. In Betfair trading it’s matter of good analysis and timely decision to be successful.

If you have backed $200 at 4.8 and then the price on Betfair went down to 4.0 you can trade out laying at 4.0. You might lay $200 at 4.0, then if the horse loses you will make (less Betfair commission):

$200 * (4.8 – 1) – $200 * (4.0 – 1) = $160

Betfair displays all odds in decimal format.
To calculate profit from a BACK bet the formula is:
profit = stake * (odds – 1)
Loss formula for LAY bet is the same:
loss = stake * (odds – 1)

Well, this is very basic of Betfair trading. Good luck, and happy trading!

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