Best Odds NOT Guaranteed: Controversy as Paddy Power Pulls BOG from 16 Racecourses

Horse Race Best Odds GuaranteedIt was the innovation designed to ensure that all punters got the best value price available – no matter where and when they placed their bets.

But Irish bookmaking behemoth Paddy Power has gone against the grain by pulling Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) from their offering for meetings held at 16 racecourses across the UK.

So, if you bet with the firm and fancy a flutter on a horse at any of the following tracks, you should note that you won’t be able to take advantage of BOG, and will instead have to take your chances with the SP.

  1. Bath
  2. Ffos Las
  3. Lingfield
  4. Uttoxeter
  5. Brighton
  6. Fontwell
  7. Newcastle
  8. Windsor
  9. Chepstow
  10. Great Yarmouth
  11. Sedgefield
  12. Wolverhampton
  13. Doncaster
  14. Hereford
  15. Southwell
  16. Worcester

Why Has Paddy Power Pulled BOG?

No official word has been given by Paddy’s representatives, which is a surprise given how active the firm is on social media.

They have emailed customers to notify them of the decision, with on-course bookmaker Christian White sharing a screenshot of the message on his Twitter feed.

It confirmed that as of Tuesday just gone, Best Odds Guaranteed would only become available for selected meetings, and that would mostly be the jewels in the domestic racing crown – such as the festivals at Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown and Galway, as well as Royal Ascot.

The statement continues that the decision has been taken so that Paddy Power can bolster their offering in other areas, such as free bets, bet builders and their Justice Refunds scheme.

If other bookmakers choose to follow suit, it could be particularly damaging for punters who will no longer have access to the best prices automatically – and at a time when the accuracy of the SP has been brought into question by many.

It’s noteworthy also that the tracks vetoed by Paddy Power are all owned by the Arena Racing Company (ARC) – make of that what you will, given that ARC and Paddy’s rival Entain (who operate Ladbrokes, Coral and co) signed an exclusive media rights deal last year that ultimately pushed up the cost for competitors to stream the action at their racecourses.

ARC owned tracks also, generally, put on lower grade racing than other prominent racecourses in UK and Ireland. That makes pricing up those markets difficult, and some bookies may consider that an area of weakness that can be exposed by punters where BOG is available.

What is Best Odds Guaranteed?

So why the big kerfuffle about Paddy Power’s decision to remove Best Odds Guaranteed anyway?

The problem is that it dilutes the power that punters have. BOG, as the name suggests, ensures that you get the very best price for any selection that you back – if you take 3/1 on the morning of a race and your horse goes off at 4/1, you will be paid out at the higher price.

So the risk of taking an early price, only to frustratingly see better value was available if you had waited a while, became a thing of the past with Best Odds Guaranteed, and it’s introduction was a real bonus for punters.

Generally available for horse and greyhound racing, BOG became so standard in the industry that it has also become commonplace in high street betting shops as well – you can access the best price no matter what is written on what your slip. Even some independent on-course bookmakers were move to follow suit.

The good news is that there are plenty of bookies who will kick on with Best Odds Guaranteed in place, which at least ensures we can wager with confidence elsewhere. The problem is that Paddy Power will, presumably, save a lot of money each year by not having to pay out at higher prices, and at a time when the betting sector is being squeezed somewhat it wouldn’t be a be a surprise to see other firms following their lead.