Is track and court side betting the fastest way to make money? Quite possibly.
But is it really fair on those who aren’t aware?
In this post, we’ll take a look at:
- What court side betting is
- How it fits into the industry
- If court-siding is fair or not
- Preview: How court-siders manage to win
And finally, take a sneak peek at some of the things court side betters are using to get an advantage…
What is Court-Side Betting?
As the name suggests, court side betting is where an individual or team of people, attend sporting event for the purposes of betting ahead of the televised delay.
Naturally, this gives them a huge advantage. Essentially, in most cases, court-siders are just hoovering up all the money left, after an event has happened.
For example; if Federer is playing Murray, and Murray wins a point, the court-siders will bet against the money that was willing to back Federer (before the point happened). Similarly, in horse racing, court-side betters will bet on a horse to lose that has already fallen. Popular in jumps racing, all before the TV coverage catches up. Another example might see court-side bettors backing a horse to win inside the final furlong. Meanwhile, everyone at home is viewing the race two furlongs out.
It’s not hard to see this is an extremely lucrative advantage. However, I don’t expect it comes without its own problems. Such as, travelling, time away from family, expenses for hotels and entry fees. None of which is refunded if you get caught doing it. Not to mention, the problems you may face with authorities or getting thrown out of different venues or tracks.
Wouldn’t you like to watch some world-class athletes thrash it out, whilst making a fortune?
So how, exactly, does that fit within the betting industry? As you might expect, the betting industry frowns upon court-side betting.
The two main reasons given for this are that it isn’t fair on those who are betting at home, and that it’s just not ethically right, undermining various sports in the process. In fact, in Australia, you could be slapped with a prison sentence of up to ten years, according to the Integrity in Sports Act. In the UK, though, you’re probably safe. The UK Gambling Commission confirm that court-siding is not considered to be an illegal offence.
Ironically, the people that are affected most by this, are not necessarily the ones making the most noise.
The tracks and venues, as well as bookmakers, tend to be the ones most upset about court side betting. Understandably, they have a business to protect. Although I can’t help but feel their views are born out of a vested interest, which, in my opinion, isn’t any more ethical than those who do court-side. The racetracks and channels, in particular, don’t like this for similar reasons to the book makers. Purely because they want everybody to use their services and pay for their coverage, money talks. I remember being at an event once where a track representative told me they were pushing hard to ban all exchange activity at their track. The bookmakers are no different.
Within tennis, the reasoning appears to be a little bit more genuine…
Is Court-side Betting Fair?
The first thing to say is; of course it’s not. But that’s life isn’t it?
Those at the court-side have a formidable edge over the rest of the betting market. However, everybody has a choice to participate.
Court-Siding isn’t particularly secret, especially if you’ve seen the news over the last few years. The only argument I can see for it being unfair, is for those who are at home betting, and are completely unaware that court-siders exist. Of course, that could be countered by saying; “Only fools bet on things they don’t know enough about”. In which circumstances, you can only expect to have your money taken from you. As the saying goes, “A fool and his money is soon parted”.
All things considered, when you look at court-siding and what is required to be a successful court-sider, those who successfully do it probably deserve the money. To me, those who complain about it are generally just bitter it’s not them. After all, somebody has to be first to market. That person will always have an advantage.
To me, it’s just a way of life. It’s not unfair.
Preview: How Court-siders Win…
Court siding’s become particularly competitive over the years, as you may expect.
With the huge values of money on offer, everybody wants to be first. Even court-side you’ll find there’s big competition to get bets into the market first. Up to 75 court-siders per match at some of the bigger tournaments. Can you imagine that?!
So, how do they do it?
Over the years, I’ve met a few different court-siders. Some of the stories are just wild…
One particular chap told me how he hunkered up on the final bend of a well-known track, disguised amongst tarpaulin and disused equipment. All so he could communicate via radio, with several others the next day as the horses come romping home. Working amongst a team of 4 on course, they would all ‘call it’ one after the other. Bets being placed by a 5th user as they did so.
Tennis court-siding sounds a little more complex. Probably because of the continued efforts to remain unseen amongst the general public. Adapting radios and computer game controllers, sometimes concealed amongst the lining of clothing. It’s big business.
However they do it, you have to credit these guys – they need to know what the ‘true’ price would be anyway. Often running mathematical market models, not the easiest of tasks…
Related: Tennis Trading Guidance…
I was trading a tennis match the other day in the early hours when all liquidity in between point seemed to disappear. It was suggested to me that some courtsiders had been caught and therefore liquidity dried up. So I guess they are another part of the market, that has its uses.
Of course they make the odd mistake too, all liquidity though? What match/tournament was it?
It was early hours WTA in aussie Hobart I think from memory
Legal/illegal, ethical – or not, I reckon ‘court-siding’ will continue as long as people see a return which out-weighs the risk. Its Human nature!
Personally, it annoys me. I’ve lost a fair few smackers to those ‘in the know’ who are probably having a pie and a pint, their work done, while I’m still watching the last two Furlongs and getting it stuck right up me. 🙂 I exaggerate, I know – but you get my meaning.
I guess the only answer to the problem, is that old one that is trotted out by all the ‘guru’s’ out there – yes Caan, that includes YOU! LOL DO NOT go inplay! Get in, make your dosh and get out, before the buggers with the fastist, newist, bestist gear shove it up you!
In closing, a belated Happy New Year to you all. 🙂
I get your point George, Inplay is the devil if you didn’t plan it!
Fantastic read Caan, thanks. I remember back in the day laptops being banned ‘on course’, but as you say: it’s graft doing this anyway – however unethical it is – you still gotta earn ya wedge!
Bring on Wimbledon 2018 lol
Sure. Ever see many arbitrage opportunities on the tennis? Assuming that’s still what you do.
Bring back analogy TV – that’s what I say!
Bit late for that mate, although I’m sure some people made a tidy killing.
i track play on the horse racing and use a trading room iv gone from making maybe 15 to 20 k playing at home to making six figures a yearr speed is everything when betting in running costs are high but worth every penny to be first in the markets to see when a horse is first off the bridle or travelling well and finding nothing for pressure , falling at fence liquidity is on the decline year on year but anybody with half a brain can still make a good living at the track.
Thanks for the comment Abs, proof these people still exist!
By wondering in these methods, you’re returning off as being a polite gambler, and could get you shoved
marginally to get a superior compensation, or at all, you’ll discover precisely what you must do
to get what you would like.
Sorry but I don’t understand what you mean?
Great article. Do you not think even with competition with other courtsiders, they are always still ahead of bettors back home and will always find profit there?
You mention that they need to know where the true price is? Why is that if they are simply taking the money thats unaware of the point that was just scored?
Can you do this for betting on next goal scorer for football?
You can do it on anything if you’re fast enough.
Is it legal though?
Yes. Venues don’t like it though.