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New Zealand dreads ‘arbitrage’ wagers

In New Zealand, TAB bookmakers have been advised to prohibit all professional groups from placing fixed-odds wagers due to concerns over so-called ‘arbitrage’ wagers.

Arbitrage wagering involves punters taking odds with the New Zealand TAB before off-laying them at a lesser dividend with a betting exchange such as Betfair. The practice is more common in bigger and more sophisticated betting markets with many professional bettors using computer programmes loaded with software that has been designed to seek out anomalies.

According to a report from The New Zealand Herald newspaper, TAB bookmakers have been told to cull approximately 20 fixed-odds punters who they suspected were using their service for professional or semi-professional arbitrage.

“Yes, we have been told to explain to some of these people that we will no longer take fixed-odds bets from them but we are talking about a very small number,' said TAB bookmaker Mark Stafford.

“Basically, these are professional punters, often using robot programmes, and we are not going to let them use us for arbitrage, simple as that. It has been going on for a while and it is not fair to us or the regular punter who simply wants to back their opinion against ours.”

Stafford stated that winning punters who the TAB do not suspect of using their odds for arbitrage will still be able to bet although some may be restricted in how much they are allowed to win.

“We have one gallops punter who basically wins every week with us but we think he is doing his own form and not laying off our odds overseas so he is allowed on,' said Stafford.

“He is restricted to how much his bets are allowed to win because we are, after all, a business but he is fine with that. I know some people might paint this in a bad light but professional punters tend to understand this is standard practice around the world. But this isn't going to be a factor for anybody who isn't gambling right at that professional level.”