Our national survey of Australian punters has revealed how many bettors believe that they make a profit from their betting on horse racing.
The 'Australian Horse Racing and Betting Survey' respondents included punters of all types including some professionals, semi professionals, those who took their pastime of punting pretty seriously and those who had a more casual approach to their betting.
We surveyed the on line punters and asked them whether overall, they made a profit, about broke even, or made a loss on their betting -
(a) Overall, I make a profit on my betting 107 27
(b) Overall, I about break even on my betting 178 46
(c) Overall, I make a loss on my betting 107 27
Only 27% of the punters surveyed believed that they made a profit from their betting. However, there was one group of punters who were much more likely to make a profit than others – more about them later.
That nearly half of the respondents surveyed (46%) reported that they ‘about break even on their betting’ indicates that punters can sometimes see their betting through 'rose coloured glasses' - actual figures from corporate bookmakers suggest that nowhere near this number 'about break even on their betting'.
However, the figure of 46% should not be taken at face value - whilst it does indicate that punters can sometimes view their betting bottom line in a more positive light than they should, it also suggests that they are more likely to remember wins rather than losses. This ready recollection of winners tends to put a positive glow on the perceived bottom line.
The phrase 'I about broke even' is also 'punter speak'. Ask any punter how his betting went on a particular race day and 'I about broke even' will be a common reply. What he is actually saying is 'I about broke even or made a slight loss' - most punters understand and acknowledge this 'punter speak', whilst a racing outsider will more than likely take the phrase 'I about broke even' at face value.
A further 27% of survey respondents simply acknowledged that they made a loss on their betting - but that they still enjoyed having a regular bet.
Respondents were also asked what type of punter they considered themselves to be – a 'serious punter who studied the form in depth', a 'casual but informed punter', or a 'casual punter who didn’t study the form'. By far the greatest number identified themselves as being ‘casual but informed’ bettors -
I consider myself to be - Total %
(a) A serious punter who studies the form in depth 140 36
(b) A casual but informed punter 237 60
(c) A casual punter who doesn’t study the form 15 4
Now here's where it gets interesting. We cross referenced the type of punter bettors considered themselves to be with their belief of whether or not they make a profit from their betting. Of those who described themselves as being ‘casual punters who don’t study the form’, none reported that they made a profit from their betting. The ‘casual but informed punters’ who made up the largest group in the survey didn’t fare much better – of the 237 respondents who described themselves as being in this category of punter only 9% believed that they made a profit -
Overall, I make a profit from my betting - %
(a) Serious punters who study the form in depth 56
(b) Casual but informed punters 9
(c) Casual punters who don’t study the form Nil
As the above results show, more than half of the respondents who considered themselves to be ‘serious punters who study the form in depth’ reported that they made a profit from their betting.
Whilst punters can often put a bit of a positive spin on their betting exploits and are sometimes perceived to ‘kid themselves’ that they make more money from their betting than they actually do, they are generally more realistic and grounded than they are given credit for – as evidenced by the fact that of the 252 bettors in the survey who described themselves as being either (b) ‘casual but informed punters’ or (c) ‘casual punters who don’t study the form’, 91% of them readily admitted that they did not make money from their betting on horse racing.
Of course punters don’t only bet to win money. Although that reason is foremost, there are many other reasons - as Aussieraces.com researchers found in the survey when they asked bettors the question ‘Other than to win money, why else do you bet?’. More about that interesting subject another time.