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What’s the difference between being an on-line bookie and an on-course one… it’s mostly the feed

It’s been a while since my last blog, but you’ll have to excuse the hiatus because running an online site takes up a lot of bandwidth.

When my brother, David, and I set up DragonBet, we had no idea what it would involve.

David – a professional gambler – and myself, a racecourse bookmaker, thought we had the perfect skill set.

It turns out we probably didn’t. I’m still not sure we do, but we’re trying damn hard to get there.

The thing about racecourse bookmaking is that you actually try to make a ‘book’. The thing about online bookmaking is that you’re just laying bets.

That might sound odd, but there’s a world of difference.

When I pitch up on-course, I’ll have an idea about what I want to lay, what price I want to be, and how much I want to stand it for.

A price ‘feed’ is something that’s brought in by a third party and integrated onto your betting platform.

We have little involvement in the original prices but what we can do – and actively seek to involve ourselves in – is adjusting the prices to suit our wants.

In DragonBet’s case, we try to ensure that we are the best on all the Welsh players, teams and events.

After all, we brand ourselves ‘The Bookmaker Of Wales’ so there’s a reputation to live up to and it’s also in the DNA of our company.

Where we have the most involvement in pricing and traditional bookmaking is our Welsh specific markets and daily non-Welsh boosts.

Last year, we covered a huge range of Welsh sport all the way from the top to the bottom of the domestic rugby leagues and just as many when it comes to local football.

Harsh and expensive lessons have been learnt about how razor sharp some of the punters are and how difficult it is when your customers know so much more than you do.

Some of the biggest financial hits included a team backed in from 33/1 to 6/4 that went on to duly win.

We just about dodged an iceberg when another team got beat in the Cup final at big odds-on after heavy early season support at 25/1.

I won’t say how much we stood to lose in case the Mrs. is reading, but it’s fair to say I had good sweat on watching those games.

Another big hit, that’s still fresh in the mind is City of Troy winning the Derby last weekend. We chose to take him on, offering a boost on the day even though we already had a fair ante-post liability.

I just couldn’t see him winning after the Guineas disappointment and was desperate to lay him for the ‘max.’

I had the displeasure of watching him win with relative ease from our new pitch at Worcester Racecourse as all the profits (and many multiples more) from a really busy Ladies Day disappeared into the virtual wallets of DragonBet customers.

It’s fair to say it was a quiet drive home from the racetrack and I had to remind myself it’s okay to be a bad loser.

As my father, John Lovell, used to say, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”

So, with that in mind, we’re going again.

This year, we’re adding even more markets on the local Welsh leagues (rugby and football), we’re going bigger with the boosts and bigger with the risk appetite.

We’re a company that’s born from the betting ring, so we’re also adding to that heritage by buying more racecourse pitches as and when they appear.

Overall, the business is growing and people are starting to realise they can come to us (whether they are Welsh or not) for big bets, decent human customer service, and in the knowledge that it still hurts us when they back a winner.

Just maybe that joint skillset between my brother and I, is working after all.

So, here’s a gentle reminder that if you’ve backed a winner with us, you’re only borrowing it!

We really appreciate you choosing us to bet with and we look forward to continuing to take you on.

Diolch and pob lwc for the summer racing, the Euros, and next season’s local sport.

Bring it on!

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