If you thought that placing a bet was a simple as finding some odds you want to back, unfortunately that’s not always the case.
Even when a bookie is offering a price about a certain outcome of a sporting or novelty event, there will still be times when your bet is not immediately accepted.
There are a variety of reasons for this, but the outcome is that your wager will likely be ‘referred to traders’ – industry slang for a betting firm employee crunching the numbers to see why you are staking a particular amount, or why you are so bullish about a niche sport or event.
So here’s a look at the humble betting trader – who are they, what do they do and why are your bets occasionally referred to them?
What is a Bookmakers’ Trader?
While a trader now has some responsibility for compiling odds both pre-event and in-running, for the most part their main focus is to ensure a betting firm has a balanced book – and isn’t left with too great a liability on a specific outcome.
So, for example, it might be Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival. They will monitor the flow of bets being placed on the race, analysing the firm’s liability and tweaking prices in an attempt to create as much balance as possible.
Traders are also sent bets that are unusual, e.g. a huge stake is placed into an obscure market. They are tasked with finding out what’s going on, because even a £100 bet into certain niche markets will unbalance their book considerably.
What Does ‘Referred to Traders’ Mean?
Any bet that is flagged up by the bookie’s automatic monitoring systems as noteworthy can and often will be ‘referred to traders’ – that is, it will be considered by a real life member of the trading team.
Sometimes, this can be for a reason as simple as your potential winnings would be higher than the firm’s maximum payout – if you were to place an almighty accumulator, for example. Other times punters can strike fear into the heart of the layers when they back a team/player/horse in an obscure event for a stake that would create a sizable liability – again, a trader will examine the reasons why the bet has been placed.
And occasionally, winning punters will have their stakes restricted by a bookmaker, and any time they want to get on a trader will be tasked with determining what liability they are willing to accept. This is a big old discussion for another time, but the truth is that bookies can limit unprofitable customers (frequent winners) and the trader’s job is to determine the specifics of how much you can bet with them.
A trader may offer you revised terms on your bet, i.e. a maximum stake or reduced odds, or they can reject your bet altogether – unfortunately, such acts will be covered by the firm’s T&Cs.
How Long Does It Take for a Trader to Get Back to Me?
More often than not, a bookmaker won’t want to lose your custom (unless you are a long-term winning punter), and so they will try to respond as quickly as possible.
This timeframe will be different from one day to the next, so a trader will be more sprightly in their responses on a Monday evening than they will be on a Saturday afternoon.
The amount of time it takes for a trader to action your bet will also depend on what markets you are wagering on and the size of your stake – there are some decisions that they will take maximum time and effort over making.
My Bet Has Been Referred to Traders, What Do I Do?
As mentioned, a trader can either accept your bet, reject it or offer revised terms that you yourself can then either accept or reject.
When you place a bet that the firm considers to be contentious in some way, you will see a message displayed on the screen of your phone or computer – something like ‘your bet is currently being reviewed by our traders’ or similar.
Occasionally, your bet will be accepted straight off the bat, and you will see your bet receipt on screen as confirmation.
Other times, the trader will return your bet with revised odds/stake size – this will be highlighted on your betslip. So, rather than taking your £20 bet on a 100/1 shot, they might instead offer you £10 at 100/1 and £10 at 50/1.
At this point, you can choose to accept or reject the trader’s terms, and can do so by following the instructions you will see on screen.
There isn’t really anything you need to do other than wait for a decision and decide whether you want to go ahead with any revisions.