Betfair Points, Commission Rates and Holidays

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One of the important things to factor in when using Betfair is commission. This takes a surprising amount of your profit and is therefore worth reducing whenever possible. Betfair has a sliding scale of commission starting at 5% and dropping to 2% based on the number of Betfair points you have accumulated. There is a scale of points and commisson rates which can be found here, along with an explanation of the system, but all you really need to know is that it is good to get as many points as possible.

Every Sunday night Betfair remove 15% of your points, but you stay on your current commission rate for the following week. Each year you are given 4 Betfair holidays and it is wise to use one (go to the Betfair Holidays tab in your account) if you are going to be unable to bet much in the following week. These must be booked beforehand, you can’t do it after 9pm on Sunday for the following week. You can check your points total on the Account Summary page or in the Betfair Points Statement in your account.

To illustrate the importance of the commission rate, suppose you were signing up to Stan James for their £25 free bet. It isn’t particularly hard to find arbs at SJ on horses, and these can be found on the arb finder. Suppose for my qualifier I find an arb at 3.25/3.1. For simplicity I will assume you are matching the bets out for equal profit, win or lose.

At 5% commission, £25 at 3.25/3.1 gives you a profit of 31p.

At 4% commission, this becomes 49p.

At 3% commission (the lowest you can really expect to get to unless you are a pro arber with a huge bank) it is 67p.

Now lets see what happens if you place your £25 free bet on a horse at not unusual odds of 11/10.5.

At 5% you win £22.73

At 4% you win £22.94

At 3% you win £23.16

so the total difference for just one small free bet + qualifier between 5% and 4% is 39p and at 3% it is 79p.

Now consider what happens if you are arbing. Suppose that you are underlaying every bet so that you win money only when the bet wins at the bookie. Using the 3.25/3.1 example and a stake of £100 your stakes and winnings will be as follows:

At 5%, lay £105.26 at 3.1 giving a return at the bookie of £225 and a loss at betfair of £221.05 so profit = £3.95 if the horse wins.

At 4% lay £104.17 at 3.1 for a loss of £218.76 at Betfair and a £6.24 profit.

At 3% lay £103.10 at 3.1 for a loss of £216.51 at Betfair and a £8.49 profit.

You can see that someone who has a commission rate of 3% and underlays the arb makes more than TWICE the actual profit than someone doing the same thing at the same odds but with a commission rate of 5%.

The upshot of all this is that whether you are arbing full time or just doing free bets, it is helpful to get as many Betfair points as possible, since these directly affect how much commission you pay. Arbers will bet on arbs that give them no profit at all, simply to generate Betfair points. You also get points by playing poker and using the casino at Betfair, so if you can do this without losing money it is worth the effort.

If you have any questions about Betfair points and commission (which is far from straightforward until you are used to the way it works) I am happy to answer them by PM or in the live chat.

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