How hard can it be to get your bet history from a bookmaker? Introducing SmartBet
Here’s a simple question that will tell me if you are going to be a winning or losing punter. What is your current profit or loss figure? If you can’t answer that question, there is a 99% chance you are a losing punter. The worst thing is you have probably deluded yourself into thinking you are a winning one. Now if you can answer that question, it doesn’t mean you are a winning punter, what it does say to me is that you are ready to become one. You have taken the effort to record your bets and can use that data to improve your betting over time.
A few months ago I decided to see how easy it would be to grab all my data from my past year of betting at the Australian sportsbooks. You would assume it would be as easy as clicking a few buttons and downloading the data. How wrong I was, it seems I stumbled into a very murky world where bookmakers will do almost anything to make sure this very simple information can never be retrieved by you.
One of the recommendations set out by Financial Counselling Australia to help curb the amount of problem gambling is reproduced below.
If sports betting companies had to issue regular paper statements, with the company logo prominently printed on the envelope. The statements would have to clearly show the person’s active account transactions, with a total of wins and losses since the date the account was set up. Having the statement arrive in the mail would mean that family members potentially impacted by problem gambling might see the envelopes and be alerted to what was occurring. If the statement was only for ‘active accounts’ this would assist family members to be aware of current gambling. Having a clear tabulation of losses over a period of time would mean that people could not delude themselves about the financial cost of their losses. It is the same data that the companies look at when deciding to provide credit
I believe this would not only help problem gamblers, but also gamblers who want to make a profit. I understand why they would want a paper statement sent with the logo on it, but we are living in the 21st century and I believe this information should be at your fingertips 24/7. A month is a long time when betting. Why not have a running total that is updated every single time you place a bet. Taking a cue from the $6 million dollar man:
We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster
To be more specific. I can build that, I have built it (nearly). You can become a better bettor.
But before I tell you what I (and 2 friends) have built, let’s go over what I currently use to record my bets and let’s see how easy it was for me to get my betting histories from the bookies.
My Current Record Keeping
I use the Betting Tracker Excel worksheet from Aussportbetting. I have been using it since day 1 and it keeps getting better. Now when I place a bet, it takes me about 15 seconds to add that data into the spreadsheet. I put the date, sportsbook, sport, selection, bet type, tipper, fixture, stake amount and odds. Once the game has ended I come back and either put it as a win or a loss. The spreadsheet does the rest for me. But last year I placed over 10,000 bets and that adds up to almost 42 hours of data inputting.
The spreadsheet does give me some very good data. My total amount bet, my profit or loss, ROI, win/loss % and so on. It even breaks down my results from each sport or bookmaker or tipster and I can use the handy filter tool to get even more specific. It even produces a nice overall chart. You can see mine on the top left hand side of the site. If you want to go deeper, you can use the excel filter tool and make your own graphs. Once you have the data in an easy to read format, there are a heap of things you can do.
But I know you and I are lazy. We also know computers are damn smart and as long as you show them what they have to do, they can do it faster and better than any human. For example, I would love to record closing odds on every single bet I place, but there is no way I am making the effort to go to an oddschecker website and find each game and find the closing odds. That takes at least 1 minute per game and would mean an extra 166 hours of my time each year. A computer on the other hand does it without bitching and moaning like me.
There are other online places where you can record your bets as well. There are some great products out there, but these too require you to take time to record your own bets. For the guys like me who know how important it is, the effort is worth it. But for the majority of people we know they just couldn’t be bothered.
The dream is a fully automated system that will record every bet you place without you needing to do anything. Once all that data is stored, it will also be able to tell you about your betting and spit out information and graphs that will make you an even better bettor. But more about that later.
Let’s see how I went in my quest to get my data.
Getting my data
With any financial data there needs to be a record kept. It’s the law (I guess). The law also says I have access to my financial data. So before I started my quest for my betting data I wanted to see how difficult it was to get my other financial data.
I started with my bank. I logged into my account and there it was, a statement section where I could put in the date range and it spat out every dollar I had spent and earned. I moved onto my stockbroker and once again, a simple statement page with every single transaction. My stockbroker also sent that data to a third party (which I had allowed) and this gave me even greater details on my investments. So it was very simple to get my financial details in the formats I wanted.
I decided to limit my quest to just over 10 bookmakers. All the big corporate books and a few of the smaller guys.
Sportsbet: Sportsbet allowed me to log in, go to My account section, than transactions and select my date range. I could then download in excel format. The data is not laid out perfectly, but with a little effort from me I could get it into a usable format.
Sportsbet were the only bookmaker where this was easy to do. They do not show your profit and loss figure in anyway, but do show you each and every bet you have placed.
Betfair: There are a few ways you can see your bet history with Betfair. You can go to the bet statement page or you can go to the bet history area. In the bet history area you can ask for the last 3 months of bets and download an excel file of this data. The data is fairly well laid out but it does not include the commission you paid on winning bets. But there is a profit and loss page on the site that will show you your profit or loss on each sport over the last 3 months.
As I wanted 12 months worth of data, I emailed my vip manager and asked for this. It took a few days for them to get back with the data and I had to log into a completely different site. The initial format was not what I wanted so I asked again and after a few more days the data was available for me.
Topsport: You can see your last 90 days betting history with topsport, but there is no P/L figure or way to download it. I emailed Tristan (the owner) and he sent me my data in excel format. It had the basic information and in an easy to read format.
Cluballsports (now Betting.club): uses the same system as Topsport, so I could see the last 90 days, but needed to email to received my data in excel format. They replied quickly with the requested info.
TABtouch: You can only see your past 10 days worth of transactions on site and have to click on each day to get that days info. The data presented is very hard to read. There is no option to download any data.
I emailed support and asked for my years data in excel format. Their customer service called me back very quickly and said it was an unusual request and why I would want that data. This shocked me and I said I wanted it to see if I had won or lost over the past year. She seemed genuinely surprised that I would want to know that. About 10 minutes later, I was sent a pdf of my betting history.
This is almost an unreadable mess. It would take me forever to decipher the code they decided to wrap this in.
William Hill: Willhill only allows you to look at a maximum of 30 days. There is no way to download this or see a profit and loss figure. I emailed support and was sent a pdf version of my data. I asked for the data in excel format and was told that was not possible. The ever helpful support person told me I could go to the website, start from a year ago and in 30 day periods I could easily load them up and manually put the data into a spreadsheet. After a few more emails and complaints, the were magically able to send me my bets in excel format. The data is formatted well but does not include any total profit or loss figures.
UBET: Ubet has a Ticket History section which will only show a short period of your bets. There is no way to download this data and no profit and loss figure. I emailed support asking for my data and was told this wasn’t possible and to look on the website for that information. I replied and complained again and was sent an almost unreadable PDF with my bet history. There would be no way to understand or breakdown this document.
TAB: You can see up to 90 days of bets on the TAB website. The layout is adequate but again, there is no way to download this information or see a P/L figure. I emailed support and was simply told I could not have my data apart from what I could see on the website, as always, I replied and used my charm (haha) and after a week I was sent a garbled PDF just like Ubet and Tabtouch had sent me.
Bet365: Bet365 has recently changed their bet history to make it even harder to get your information. Before they had a profit and loss figure, they have now removed this. You can put in a custom date range and need to click on each bet to see further information. There is no way to download this information. I emailed Bet365 and asked for my data, I was told nope. I enquired again and was told no again. I was only allowed to see my data on the website.
Palmerbet: Palmerbet runs off the same software as Topsport and Betting.club. They did not even reply to my request.
The Very Ugly
Crownbet: The crownbet system only allows you to see one month of data at a time and all you see is if you made a profit or loss on the event. So you can not see the bet you placed or the odds you placed them at. As per usual, there is no profit or loss figure. I emailed Crownbet and asked for my past years data, I received a PDF document with barely any information on it, it was impossible to work out what I had bet on or at what odds. As this data was not what I requested I asked for my data in excel format and they simply saved the pdf as an excel file and sent that. I replied again asking for my data and was told that their IT department were working on an improvement to the bet history and it would be out soon. I knew this was a lie as I had requested the same data 6 months ago and received the exact same response. After a few back and forth emails I decided to call them out on twitter and put a formal complaint into the Northern Territory Gambling Commission. It seems that any complaints are automatically also sent to the sportsbook, as minutes later I received a call from a manager at Crownbet.
Now this call was a few months ago and I did not record it, so I can only paraphrase what was said. It was both refreshing to hear honestly from a Crownbet employee but more so extremely depressing to hear what he had to say. Initially he started the call trying to placate me and saying the IT team was working on it, when I told him this was a lie and I had received the same response 6 months earlier and also showed him that I was able to create my own bet history in less than a day, he decided to be honest with me.
He went on to tell me there is no chance they would work on such a feature as they did not want their customers to know how much they were losing. He said they are in business to make as much money as they can. He than asked why I was anti bookmaker so much, I said I was simply pro-punter, not anti-bookie. I said it was easy to dislike Crownbet as the owner had come out and said they would be different and take bets, and within days that was proven to be a lie. He replied with (I’m paraphrasing) “Yeah, but if we told the truth, no one would have signed up”. As I mentioned above, I was shocked and yet pleasantly surprised at the level of honesty. This call made me 100% sure about the culture being created not just at Crownbet but at all the other corporate books. They do not care one bit about the customers, their one and only thought is to take as much money from people as possible. I already knew this, but for it to actually be said to me was still a bit of a shock.
The NT Gambling commission also never replied to my complaint.
We also emailed the AWC (Australian Wagering Council) asking what the legal requirements of the bookmakers were to give customers access to their data and they still have not replied after a month.
It is clear as day that the bookmakers do not want their customers to know how much they are losing. It makes perfect sense from a business perspective. They make it as difficult as possible to find this information, and it would take someone months to put together a snapshot of their betting in the current climate. These bookmakers will not change unless they are forced to. A new legislation needs to be added to the upcoming review into the Interactive Gambling Act that makes it a law that every bookmaker must provide access to every single bet in a standardised format on a 24/7 basis.
My solution: Introducing SmartBet
That was a very long preamble to introduce my newest product. The name is bound to change, but for now, let me introduce you to SmartBet.
SmartBet is all your betting data in one spot. The long term goal is to grab the data from API feeds from each bookmaker, but for now you can upload the excel files these bookmakers will send and the software will do the rest. It will convert the data into the right format and standardise it all. You will have a dashboard that plainly shows you your profit and loss figure which can be broken down in any way you choose. You will be able to create whatever sort of charts and graphs you like. It will tell you what sports and bet types you have made the most profit or loss, it can even tell you which track produces a profit for you or even which jockey. Once the data is in there, the possibilities are endless. It can even let you know when you are not betting the best possible odds and let you know where you should have bet instead. It will automatically record closing prices and let you know if you beat them and a million other things you have always wished you could know about your betting. It can send alerts for problem gamblers when it sees you starting to martingale bets or doing anything else that could cause a huge loss very quickly.
That is the long term dream of the product. We are still in the very early days and are still working on getting all the data from each bookie into it. We have created a landing page and you can see more details about the product there. You can also join the waiting list and be kept up to date on our progress and be one of the first to test it out. Or you can just put your details in below and also be added to the list. Check out the landing page and let us know what you think in the comments below.