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Turf Deli Opinion
Decimal Odds Vs Fractional Odds 10/02/01

Its got to be said - the race track is not known as a place of rapid change. Australia changed to decimal currency on that fateful day in 1966, and always quick to jump on a new innovation, a mere 35 years later bookmakers have picked up the decimal ball and ran for the goals.

Yep, from 1st December 2000 the bookmaker entered the modern era and starting showing odds of $3.50, $4.00, etc, rather than the traditional 5-2 or 3-1.

So was this the right move ?? The answer is very simple - buggered if we know - lets sit on the fence.

There is no doubt that it is more convenient to have odds displayed as decimals, you know exactly what you are getting and can quickly compare odds to the tote (and realise, that in the majority of cases, the better odds are from the tote). Even allowing for that, Turf Deli, as he darts through the betting ring, has still heard the odd confused person saying "yeah, but you need to add $1 to that cause you get you bet back as well".

But does it remove some of the romance of racing ? The pro argument was that this move would make it simpler for the novice punter who might have been scared away because of confusing odds - but what about the novice punters who bet with the bookmakers, not because of the odds they offer, but because they want to say they went to the races and bet with a bookmaker and got 10-1. And it takes the edge off a good story, saying that something had been backed from 12's into 7-2 when you need to convert it into decimals. It's like translating a wise ancient proverb into street jive hip hop - its just not going to have the same effect.

Overall, maybe the issue is not really all that important anyway. The reason why bookmakers are a dying breed (and this is very sad indeed), is because of the tight markets they often offer, meaning there is little incentive for punters to place a bet with them, along with a reduced market because of government legislation placing minimum amounts on betting over the phone. Often, you will see races where all horses in the field drift from their opening prices - until bookmakers can be competitive in their marketplace it does not matter whether matter what whizz bang concept they come up with (although a free large fries with every double bet would win my vote), they are going to struggle to survive.

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