It seems that companies go from one controversy to another never quite learning how to handle the issues that arise. Perhaps I should turn this into a reputation management post! Betfair certainly seems to fail on that score.
There have been several articles written about Betfair in recent months, generally in a negative light. Matt from Punt.com in his article, “Can we still trust Betfair?” seems to feel that trust has gone by the wayside. In a fairly lengthy post he likened to Betfair to the stock exchange and the rules they have to follow.
It is a fair enough comparison too considering the amount of money that goes through their doors (or is should that be portals) each and every day. To quote from Matt:
….whether the recent actions of Betfair (the leading betting exchange) have caused us to lose trust in them. Do we believe they have our best interests at heart, further to this, should we?
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There are many obvious responses to this and Matt’s article addresses some of them. However in a nutshell I see the following as controlling issues on trust:
Trust is earned through good business outcomes. The more you trade with an organisation, the more you come to understand how they operate. When they change some of the rules (particularly behind closed doors), issues of trust are raised.
Whether or not we trade with a betting exchange, the stock exchange, or the corner store, if they fail on an issue of trust (amongst other issues such as service) we vote with our feet.
Any business is there to create a profit for its owners. Our society not only accepts this but expects it. The issue is whether or not the profit is gained fairly.
Matt’s article has pointed out the loss of trust. Businesses like Betfair need to be transparent in how they obtain their income and the percentages used. Regulators need to be able to inspect transactions to determine fairness and other issues.
Can Betfair still be a fair bet? Being the largest and most reliable betting exchange, I believe they can. The nature of the business relies on you the punter determining what is a fair bet. If you are not happy with the return-v-risk then you leave your hands in your pockets.
Transparency policies need to be put in place as trust will always be an issue. However the end result is whether or not your money is safe - the value of the return is your decision. If any organisation wants to take say, 50% of the return as a commission, you just need to factor that into your bets.
As with any transaction, let the buyer beware - in this case the gambler. The real lesson is not so much trust as transparency - without transparency you cannot determine risk.