Bet copying services have gained popularity in recent years as a way for punters to automatically copy the bets of successful individuals or groups.
It’s easy to see the appeal of a service like this. Why bother researching and risking your money when you can copy somebody else?
First, I should point out that I’m not targeting any service in particular, and you should judge everything on its own merit. It’s just that I’m getting the same feeling I did when I told everybody not to invest in sports hedge funds. The issues are similar, and you should read that blog post as well: –
But let’s examine why bet copying is a flawed concept.
Why are they flawed?
These services are similar to copying services in the stock market, where traders can automatically replicate the trades of other successful traders. However, while these services may seem a promising way to improve your betting performance, they come with many potential flaws.
Trade copying services in financial markets are seen as good customer acquisition tools, and I think the same of bet copying services.
Most services have a rank of the top performers, and this is helpful. But as most financial investments state, past performance does not guarantee future performance. This ranking system is tempting, as those at the top seem to be doing very well. But there is a reason for that.
A list of amazing performers is inevitable as the top-ranked performers will always be on the right edge of the bell curve. They are the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. If you top slice a bell curve, you will inevitably find the best (and worse) performers.
Of course, only the top performers always get highlighted as you would expect – https://www.etoro.com/copytrader/
E-Toro is one of the copying trading pioneers, but regulation dictates that they must publish the results of their customers overall. As the banner states on their site when writing this article, 77% of retail investors lose on e-toro. The top performances are only a tiny slice at the right edge of the bell curve.
Of course, there are alternatives in financial markets. You can invest in a fund or a company. They take a cut of some sort at some point, but they leverage your money into investments you don’t have access to. That is the appeal there.
For example, I bought a share of Berkshire Hathaway in the early 90’s. After years of compounding away under the management of Warren Buffet. That single share is now worth nearly $500,000. I pay virtually nothing to get the expertise of one of the best investors ever.
That’s a fantastic deal.
Copy betting services
One of the main issues with bet copying services is the lack of liquidity in the betting market.
In the stock market, there are often many buyers and sellers for each stock, which helps to ensure that the market remains stable and prices remain fair. However, there are often fewer participants in the betting market, which means that even a small amount of bets can significantly move the odds in a less favourable direction.
For example, suppose many bettors suddenly start copying the same bet from a successful individual or group. In that case, this can lead to a flood of bets in the market, which can quickly shift the odds to a less favourable position. This means that by the time the bet is placed, the odds may have already shifted against the bettor, resulting in it not being valuable and a long-term losing proposition.
Another potential issue with bet copying services is the lack of regulation. While the stock market is heavily regulated, the betting market is often not subject to the same level of scrutiny. This means there is a higher risk of exploitation by unscrupulous individuals or groups who may use a service to manipulate the market for their own gain.
A lot of the services I’ve seen are rewarded through an affiliate scheme, so there isn’t mainly any incentive for picking winners. They will get paid whatever happens.
But some are ‘advisory’ services charging money for copying others’ tips, but the problems are heightened here.
As a real professional gambler, my problem is not necessarily trying to find opportunities but instead trying to get a bet on without moving the market.
Even when trading, you will see me drip-feed orders in and out of the market to stay out of view or to accidentally influence the odds.
Successful gamblers know that their biggest challenge is to place bets without drawing attention to themselves and potentially causing the odds to shift against them. In fact, the goal is often to avoid encouraging more people to bet on the same outcome, as this can reduce the available liquidity and decrease the chance of getting a favourable price.
For this reason, professional gamblers often keep their betting strategies and decisions to themselves to avoid tipping off the market and risking less favourable odds.
We are also in the age of automation, API’s, etc. So if you want to get a bet on then, it’s easy to place bets of bigger sizes or via other accounts and retain 100% of your profit. Get your bet in only at the odds you want and do that automatically and even on others’ accounts if you can’t do it yourself for any reason.
In short, there is no reason to ‘share’ your bets.
About ten years ago, we wondered if we should launch a bet copying style product for Bet Angel. But considering the above points, it didn’t seem to make sense or be long-term viable. So we never developed one.
Overall, while bet copying services may seem like a promising way to improve your betting performance, they come with many potential flaws. It’s essential to approach any betting strategy or service cautiously and do your own research before investing money.
Additionally, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with bet copying services, such as the lack of liquidity in the betting market and the lack of regulation.
In short, I can see why they are appealing but also why they are flawed. For more or less the same reasons, sports hedge trading funds have lost many millions.