Beware the Trap Bets! Unethical Betting Practice?

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Is trap betting just being smart, or is it unethical and unfair?

In a long over-due post I thought I’d knock up a quick post to explain what trap betting is, why people do it and open the debate amongst users…

What is Trap Betting? (On Exchanges)

As the name suggests, it’s a trap!

Fortunately, I don’t think many readers of this blog will be falling for it. However, some of you may consider setting a trap or two of your own after reading…

I’ll admit, in the past, I’ve tried it out. To me, it just seemed like a smart thing to do (low risk as well).

Trap bets are tactically placed bets in an illiquid market, to create an illusion whilst leaving the end-user in an advantageous position should they be matched. Typically they are most effective in ante-post betting markets.

Why? Because punters look ahead of time in these markets to place their bet, although there are large gaps in the price – affording you a favourable match at the hands of their mistake…

Below is an example with some images to explain further.

How Does Trap Betting Work?

See the Qipco Champions Fillies and Mares exchange market on Betfair below.

trap betting example

See what’s significant about the lay bets?

These are ‘trap bets’.

It’s no coincidence that the available back price is 6 and the available lay price is 65. To an uneducated exchange user, it could easily be confused with 6 and 6.5.

This illusive ‘trap’ is set in the hope that somebody mistakenly lays at 65 instead of 6.5, leaving you in a very profitable position. Matching just a few pounds at that price is a nice payout!

Now, stop and look at all the other price in that image above. Getting matched at 80 instead of is a pretty big one too, or 85 instead of 8.5, or 130 instead of 13.0 (if you ignore the £10 at 12.0).

I think it’s clear to see, it’s not a coincidence at those prices…

Is Trap Betting Fair?

I’ve discussed this with a handful of people in the past. The next comment is usually “that’s not fair is it”.

The question is open, let us know in the comments below: do you think this style of trap betting is ethical?

In my mind, the exchange is a free market. Whilst this may seem a little naughty, nobody makes punters match bets at those prices. It’s just the cost of being uneducated in the first place! We’ve all been in those shoes at one point or another.

You could also run a parallel to people who automate their lay bets at very low prices, waiting for a largely uneducated punter to ‘fat finger’. Where do you draw the line?

As the saying goes – “the more you learn, the more you earn”. Or, maybe, in this case, the polar opposite applies – “the more uneducated you are, the easier you lose”.

Recommended: Pre-Race Trading Guide (Horse Racing)

18 thoughts on “Beware the Trap Bets! Unethical Betting Practice?

  1. From reading the post, it doesn’t look like being ‘uneducated’ has anything to do with it – if you’re mistakenly laying at, say, 65 instead of 6.5 then you’re either blind or drunk…or maybe blind drunk!

  2. Not for me I’m not here to make my money from the Blind Drunk or uneducated or unlucky person making a mistake whilst rushing a bit unethical in my opinion

    1. Sure, just playing devils advocate here: would you feel guilty about ‘fat finger’ automation or trades? When a large punter drags the price down, do you opt-out of trading it on moral grounds?

    1. Sure, just playing devils advocate here: would you feel guilty about ‘fat finger’ automation or trades? When a large punter drags the price down, do you opt-out of trading it on moral grounds?

  3. The exchange will teach you invaluable lessons. It’s an unforgiving place.
    How many newbies place a bet and see the red loss figure increasing, forcing an uneducated cash out option in an illiquid market…. similar result for the opportunist traders I suppose.

  4. I would think if there’s that big of a cap in the market of 6.5 to 65, as soon as you put the back bet in at 65 a bot will automatically jump in front of you? Having said that, just this week I saw a £18 match at 990 on a dog race. I had to watch that race just because of that match and I still feel bad for the £9k loss, some poor bastard had as the dog crossed the line in first. It’s a bad thing for me!

  5. Just like the banks trapping the retail traders in forex markets! If you want to trade anything, get educated on your market. Its a savage place otherwise.

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