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I never thought i would say this,the French PMU offers the best way to bet horses in Europe.
The French have successfully operated parimutuel betting since about 1870,for many of those years it was protected by a state monopoly,in recent times, the European Union requested France open it´s door to competition, they did, albeit in a French way, restrictions and fixed margins is part of the Arjel licensing deal, with regards to horse racing, we haven´t seen much change,the PMU take over 99% of horse racing bets,companies like Genybet have tried but failed, a parimutuel without liquidity is like a coffee shop without coffee!
The PMU has annual turnover of over €10 billion,they collected €790 million in 2012, the PMU employ 74,000 people and pay 80% of the French equine sector,they operate 10,400 retail outlets in France and about another 2000 in it´s territories and foreign countries.In comparison,UK bookmakers pay GBP 72 million towards racing, a sad state of affairs,consider this, French owners collect 8K for winning a small race, their UK equivalent 2.5K,training fees in the UK are more expensive, their is no subsidence ,in the UK for a relatively small trainer ,you can expect to pay around 40 pounds a day for training your horse, in France you will pay €40 per day (about 20% less),it doesn´t stop their,in France transport to the racecourse is free and so are gallops,French owner has it much easier!
UK compared to FRANCE
The UK has an intelligent betting market,operated by bookmakers,whilst odds will move through the weight of money bookmakers will often take an opinion, with early prices available and competition amongst bookmakers creating a low over-round, an half decent punter can make a good living if he/she was allowed, however,UK bookmakers do not like winners,account closures and restrictions become the norm, once upon a time their was a betting exchange called Betfair, it was a great innovation and won the Queens award for enterprise,the betting exchange removed the Bookmakers margin and allowed punters to play against each other, in 2008 corporate greed took over and winning punters had to pay an extra fee for using the service,still, it wasn´t enough, in 2011 they made an attempt to remove all professional gamblers by increasing the premium charge to a whopping 60%, morally bankrupt!
In France you have no realistic competition, the deduction is their to stay,the standard deduction from the win pool is about 16% which includes a tax of 7%,exotics have bigger deductions! The win pool in France can be between 80 - 500k , much will be dependent on the type and day of the race, trotting has much bigger turnover, the French bet much more on exotics, the record quinte (Name first 5) payed 10.5 million euro!
Betting opportunity
In the UK you have to be somewhat sneaky to take the bookmakers money, if you go into a shop and win on a regular basis they will soon limit you or even refuse to take your bet, it´s even worse online has they have all your data at the click of a button, disguising your bets is very important, sending runners to place the bets is another way around the recognition, become a little friendly with the staff so they help you get the bet on,divide stakes amongst different shops, look for bigger shops with high rollers so you won´t get noticed. where there´s a will there´s a way!
In France you can´t take a fixed price, has a professional i can go and make a deal with a PMU agent for a small rebate on my turnover, this might be 3-4% but it makes a massive difference, at the Paris racetracks they often give a 15% bonus to the 7th race on the card, you have to visit the racecourse to benefit, believe me, i study that race so hard and i spread my bets so i don´t get noticed, stupid i know, old habits die hard! To be honest the locals are anything but professionals, betting a few thousand doesn´t really effect the line, their are cultural differences to bare in mind,keep your cards close to your chest, advising others to bet the same horse has an adverse affect on the price.In betting,be aware that odds can move after the start as the database is uploading,although this has become more efficient in recent years, it mainly happens when foreign bookmaker dump in the last second, German Bookmakers are particular bad in this respect,you need to be particular careful with German invaders (horses not armies),still, once you get feeling, its relatively easy to read the market!
Watch out (notes)
-In France you will often see big named jockeys and trainers over-bet, if they have had the odd winner in the race or two before this becomes even more exaggerated!
-Big opportunities occur when the going (ground) becomes extreme, punters don't react to the change in ground.
-Horses upped or lowered in distance are rarely effected in the market,punters don´t question the wisdom!
-Raised in class,you might see a claimer raised into h´cap company, the punter is more interested in the numbers next to its name!
-Newspapers,avoid getting involved with over-tipped horses,the Paris turf lists at least 25,imagine the daily stars tips, same thing!
-Sheep effect,just pray the camera is not on your horse all the time in the pre-parade ring.
-It´s rare for the French to consider trainer form.
-Handicap is much tighter,it´s rare for a horse to win back to back h´caps,be aware of this has a 1 (one) often means shorter odds than should be!
English Bookmakers do not understand the French betting market, when they price up you have the choice of fixed odds or PMU (SP), use the two to create a massive advantage , any UK bookmaker wanting to lay me a decent bet should get in touch!
With big pools, easy travel to the Paris tracks,a less savvy opponent and plenty of opportunities, anyone with decent knowledge can make a living from French racing!