The concept of ‘points’ in betting has been around for a long time and originates from the days when you would place a wager on the outcome of a horse race and would then add up the total of your wagers to see if you would win or loose. The idea of ‘plus or minus points’ came about because you would give yourself ‘points’ or ‘minutes’ at the end of the betting session to decide how you would like to bet in the future. The concept of ‘reducing your odds’ in betting, as we know it today, originated in the U.S. in the 1950s and is still very popular there. In the U.K., you will find it hard to find a bookmaker who does not offer some form of ‘reducing your odds’ service.
Points, Not Pounds
When you look at your sports betting slip, the first thing you will notice is the amount of ‘points’ that appear alongside the odds of various teams or individuals. The reason for this is that the UK has, for the most part, kept the original points-based betting system, while the U.S. largely changed over to a ‘percentage’ based betting system.
The UK betting system is incredibly simple: you give yourself either 1 or 2 points for each £1 you wager. So, if you stake £10 at odds of 1.5 (1.50), the bookmaker would give you £15 in credit. Your stake of £10 would then be equivalent to a £15 bet, resulting in you putting £25 on the table.
The advantage of this approach is that it encourages you to continually come back and place more and more bets because you will continue to accumulate points. The disadvantage is that it is incredibly easy for a bookmaker to scam you by pretending to give you good odds but, in reality, taking your points and converting them to pounds at a hugely inflated rate.
How Do Bookmakers Use Points?
The main use of points in the UK is to help new customers who are looking to invest in a bet. It’s a simple enough process: you stake £10 on a horse race and the bookmaker gives you two points. You then place another bet at odds of 1.5 and, once again, the bookmaker gives you two points. In this way, you would be continually staking 2 points, regardless of whether you win or lose, until you achieve a certain threshold of credit. For example, if you wager £100, you will have staked £210 (210 points) and will therefore be eligible for a bonus £40 in free bets from the bookmaker. In these situations, it would be in your best interest to keep on placing bets, as the bookmaker has effectively given you 40% in free bets, without having to do anything further.
The use of ‘bonus points’ in the UK is also popular among esports betting fans, with many bookmakers giving you extra points for backing certain teams or players. In the UK, you can also find bookmakers that will increase the amount of points on your credit card as you meet certain criteria, such as making a certain amount of monthly wagers.
In the U.S., you will generally find that the odds are more generous, which encourages people to come back and place bigger bets. For example, take a look at this race between Stanford University and the University of Southern California (USC). The odds are 3.0 (3.00) that Stanford will win, while USC is the favorite at 2.0 (2.00). If you go by the bookmaker’s odds, you will win £100 if Stanford wins and you lose £100 on USC. But, if you use your common sense and realize that USC is substantially better than Stanford, you should adjust your wager to €100 on USC, as this is more reasonable given their odds of 2.0 (2.00).