Captain's log 2019

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arbusers
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Captain's log 2019
« on: December 07, 2019, 02:36:29 PM »

This is the arbusers.com annual review of the smart betting scene for the year 2019.
It is conducted in goodwill with the hope it will contribute to the understanding of this particular field. We post a similar review each year so we have a time-lapse of the smart betting scene. We advise that you take a look at the review of the previous years in our forum or youtube channel.

The use of the word Captain has no intention to imply that we are the leading characters of this community that expands beyond this forum. We encourage all members to post their opinion and thus contribute to this effort.

Value betting is dominating the smart betting scene as more players are switching to this smart betting type. The reason why so many players are giving up arbing for value betting is the toxic environment created by bookmakers and governments. Value betting comes with a bigger maneuvering space that allows players to keep their accounts alive for a longer period of time. We conclude that bookmakers are still spending time and energy to stop bonus hunters and arbers. However, it is a matter of time before they dedicate resources to purge value betting. So far, there is no significant effort from bookmakers to extinguish this smart betting technique, with the exception of automated value betting.

We alarmed the community about the steps taken by bookmakers to stop bot threats. Recently we noticed that bot action was significantly contained when a well-known bookmaker managed to almost stop it. We are in a position to say, that bot action was clustered and thus easier to detect. To cluster accounts, the anti-bot measures include a combination of intent analytics and blocking scrappers. Bots comparing prices with the help of an alert service between that bookmaker and sharp bookmakers like Pinnacle, were identified. Clustering will continue as bookmakers and their data scientists perform very well in prioritizing genuine traffic, separating it from bot threats. Therefore, we can say that the easy building bot period is now gone. We are expecting to see how bot developers will fight back, but so far their reaction is weak. We estimate that 85% of bots are now not working and only the most sophisticated are continuing like before.

SBObet slashed its betting limits. This bookmaker should not be considered as a tool for sharp action. We are watching the last man standing competition, where one after another, bookmakers and exchanges are exhausted by sharp action. Betfair, Smarkets, Matchbook, SBObet, are not what they used to be some years ago. Pinnacle might be the last man standing but they already also emitting signs of exhaustion. We are watching closely as we identify Pinnacle’s good standing, a key factor for the smart betting community. Could you imagine sharp betting without Pinnacle?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRCI0b313uY&t=100s

In our last year’s review, we anticipated that e-wallets will raise their fees. Unfortunately, there are indications showing this trend will continue. This vicious spiral is forcing e-wallets to raise fees in order to maintain profits, while clients are moving away. The remaining clients will pay a premium for continuing using to use e-wallets, while their overall client’s experience becomes worse. Cryptocurrencies, banks, cash markets, and Hawala systems are thriving and they will continue to do so. It is a pity to see a once a healthy market disintegrate and be dismantled like this. Fixed mindsets are prevailing and a penny today is worth more than a quarter tomorrow. Some times we wonder, where is the growth mindset of people and companies that have every interest to keep the market alive.

To add insult to the injury, PSD2 and open-banking became the last burden in a smart bettor’s life. Arbusers is the first and only forum that informed its members of the dangers arising from these big brother style directives, and we suggested better betting techniques for protection. PSD2 is offering bookmakers near-real-time access to a client’s information statement. This will allow gaming operators to screen all players automatically upon registration and have a better understanding of a customer’s profile and behavior over time. To make a long story short, they will have a near-perfect risk profile and persona of every customer.

We mentioned several times the low business ethics of several actors in the industry. A declining market, tight profit margins and a younger, more educated and informed a conscious generation of gamblers are forcing companies and management to new lows. Many bookmakers are tempted to confiscate hard-earned winnings, forcing players to take legal action. Most of the time, legitimate players are getting their well-deserved winnings before public hearings. This year’s most important case was Bet365’s settlement with Megan McCann, a 20-year-old student who won almost a million pounds. This case was important because third parties were engaged, including well-known payment providers that exchanged information with the bookmaker. The details of the settlement did not go public and that is why we conclude that a live and let live agreement took place. Only the smartest bettors understand exactly what that means.

High street bookmakers are expanding in the US and their first results are showing good profitability. Bookmakers themselves are spending a lot on legal fees because each US State has different laws and requires a different approach. We can assume that square action from the US will allow bookmakers to breathe, at least for a while. 13 years after The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, many US bettors abilities atrophied. But it is just a matter of time until they adopt smarter betting techniques like their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere. This is the best time to bet from the US.

Smart gambling comes with challenges. Being in this business for the last 16 years, we have seen many ups and downs. Many times we concluded that smart betting was about to die. In reality, what is happening is evolution. Some betting techniques die, while others are emerging. Smart betting is constantly changing and sometimes it surprises us with even better perspectives.

We wrote this annual review in goodwill, hoping that it will contribute to the understanding of this very particular field of arbitrage and smart gambling.

Thank you for reading.
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2019, 11:27:23 AM »

I enjoy reading this every year.  It doesn't get any easier, but the main issues are exactly what you say and its only going to get worse I fear.
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2019, 12:34:08 PM »

Farther down the road, I wonder what will happen when Pinnacle does either go down or changes it's business model.  Almost all other bookies depend on them to set their markets and follow the Pinnacle line.  The entire industry would have to adapt and it would create, IMHO, huge arbitrage opportunities once again while it would be much harder for bookies to identify who is beating them long term.  It could open the pre-match arbitrage world up again for a number of years untill a new leader emerges.  Thoughts?
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2019, 12:48:30 AM »

Thank you for this annual review. Smart betting action will prevail but it requires continuous evolution, just as mentioned in the report.

Farther down the road, I wonder what will happen when Pinnacle does either go down or changes it's business model.  Almost all other bookies depend on them to set their markets and follow the Pinnacle line.  The entire industry would have to adapt and it would create, IMHO, huge arbitrage opportunities once again while it would be much harder for bookies to identify who is beating them long term.  It could open the pre-match arbitrage world up again for a number of years untill a new leader emerges.  Thoughts?

Huge arbitrage opportunities will only be the case if Pinnacle executes a new business model over night. Knowing that only some of today's Pinnacle markets are sharp, I think it is more likely that Pinnacle would gradually change their business model based upon their profitability within each segment. Pinnacle is now sponsoring e-sports. Users report of api access being shut down. Some markets at Pinnacle are being targeted at value betting. If these are signals of a transition, I think it is a slow one.
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2019, 01:45:06 AM »

Over the last few weeks Pinnacle have over rounds of 110-115% on lower league football, and the more minor sports.  Its a worrying trend when the likes of Unibet, Skybet, Bet365 and BFPP offer better over rounds than Pinnacle!!
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2019, 07:58:27 AM »

I wonder what will happen when Pinnacle does either go down or changes it's business model. 

Let's address this according to what we have seen from Pinnacle so far. Let's compare Pinnacle 5 years ago with today's Pinnacle.
What we see is them withdrawing from smaller markets and lowering the wagering limits. In reality, what they did is to lower or stop their exposure to markets where they were bleeding. In addition, we see Pinnacle reducing exposure from agents as they identified much sharp action coming from these channels. Most probably they will continue lowering their risks in the same style. We expect to see them leaving from more markets and lowering the wagering limits even more.
This is a vicious spiral as sharp action will move from these markets to more mainstream and popular ones. That means further pressure on Pinnacle. In the end, we don't see Pinnacle's end anytime soon, as they will move back from one trench to another. This will take time.
In the unlikely event that Pinnacle somehow disappears from the market, the market will be disorientated completely and bookmakers will suffer massively. This will mean the end of arbitrage as we know it, (unless a new Pinnacle or an exchange emerges) and the complete domination of value betting. To sum up, if Pinnacle goes, there must be a new equilibrium. This equilibrium will be created by sharp action coming from different sources. Pinnacle might be a good help for arbers, but it is a competitor for value bettors. Value bettors will be very happy to see Pinnacle going, but arbers will be sad.
I find it very difficult for Pinnacle to change the business model, as this will come with massive marketing costs. At this point in time, only 3-4 operators can afford complete marketing turn around.
I also find it very difficult that they switch from the Asian style of bookmaking to the high street soft bookmaker style, because this would make them no different from others. Of course, they can always come up with a sister bookmaker, as Betfair did with the Betfair sportsbook.
 
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2019, 10:32:17 AM »

Very good post and thanks for video effort.
I personally think pinnacle will find a way. They are leaders on sharp action so it is very unlikely for them not to exist in a sharper environment.
Most likely it is that some of softs which dont have enough mug punters to cover sharp action will disappear. This will make very difficult for new startup bookies to survive. What i have seen lately is that as soon as a new player emerges it is smashed directly by arbers and value bettors. This leaves no room for new entry and makes an oligopoly of biggest  soft groups which are more sophisticated on player profiling.
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2019, 09:31:42 PM »

Tell you what, Pinnacles over-rounds on smaller sports (snooker, lower league basketball, darts, rugby etc) has got shocking recently.  Worse that most of the UK soft books at 108 -112% although they do improve to about 107% within 4-6 hours of the event starting.
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2019, 05:42:49 PM »

The bot tackling issue is huge and I request from the boss to come back with more information. A lot of players are about to be kicked out of business and they are in a critical condition. I mean, there is agony in some players.
Also, from the video, I conclude that many cases are going to courts, but for a reason, they don't go public. Is this what you are saying?
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2019, 08:26:19 PM »

Really informative review as always skip. I personally believe that Pinnacle will jump through whichever hoop to enter the US market legally. It will be interesting to see if the US will impose UK type measures or will they be more liberal. The running theme from the previous 4 logs is that the industry is getting smarter and bookies becoming shaper along with the vast array of tools they have to analyse each customer. 
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Re: Captain's log 2019
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2019, 04:33:06 PM »

The bot tackling issue is huge and I request from the boss to come back with more information. A lot of players are about to be kicked out of business and they are in a critical condition. I mean, there is agony in some players.
Also, from the video, I conclude that many cases are going to courts, but for a reason, they don't go public. Is this what you are saying?

A number of newly registered members reported they are about to exit the business. We understand the conditions. As we mentioned in the report 85% of bots are not working. This means that still, there are 15% of bots operating like before. The demand is huge and the supply is low during this period. What a squeeze! Some people work harder than others and they must be awarded for that. Bots that were operating on an industrial level are not able to continue due to extensive clustering. Bot developers understand what the situation is and it is up to them to decide which way to go. Easy money from primitive bots is not there anymore. Bot developers must work harder and they must think again their business model. The one fits all (clients) bot is now gone.
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