Betting in running (or in play) involves gambling on the outcome of a sports event after it has started. Odds change throughout the event reflecting what has already happened in it and their perceived effect on the likely outcome.
Betting in running has become increasingly popular in recent years, and now accounts for 20% of all betting. It is available on-line from bookmakers and is also available on exchanges, where punters bet against each other. It is available on most sports (including football; rugby; cricket; tennis; boxing; snooker and darts) It wouldn’t really make sense in an event that does not last long (such as a greyhound race) and in play betting opportunities in horseracing are mainly restricted to the exchanges.
The idea is that you see a confirming pattern on what has happened in the event so far that leads to more faith in your prediction. In a horse race for example you might know from studying the form that a particular horse likes to lead from the front, and if it has been allowed to do that in the race you are watching then you might be more confident of it winning the race than you were before the race started. In a football match you might know that X United have won the last 25 times in which they scored first. If they score first in the match you are watching, you might then trigger your bet. All this seems sensible, but the problem is that the rest of the world knows these facts as well and the price will be a lot shorter (if things are looking good for the outcome) than were available before the event started. So with in running betting, you are likely to be dealing with shorter odds. It is not uncommon in a football match for odds-on to reach 1/100 or shorter towards the end if one team are winning 3-0.
The next problem with in play betting is timing. There is a worldwide industry trying to profit from in play betting. Professional exchange gamblers pay racecourses a fortune to sit in smoked-glass executive viewing boxes with superfast broadband. By the time the TV signal you are watching at home has bounced off the satellite and been decoded by your high-definition TV, and by the time you have placed the bet on your home broadband, your selection might have fallen 10 seconds ago. “Courtsiders” get paid handsomely to go on exotic holidays and watch tennis matches to signal plays electronically instantaneously to gambling syndicates. SE Asian gambling syndicates openly advertise for “scouts” to work at football matches in the UK and Europe. The only way that these professionals and syndicates can win is by exploiting market information that you don’t have, and the effect is that you are betting at worse odds than would otherwise be the case.
The other problem with in-play betting is that it involves great discipline concentration and fast decision-making. You need total concentration to spot unfolding events before other bettors see them. When an opportunity emerges, you have to weigh up the available odds and if you decide to bet you need to bet quickly before the odds change. As you are usually betting with the click of a mouse great discipline is required. You must not place the bet if the odds shorten without reconsideration, but the main danger is that the punter gets carried away and can end up making a series of doubling-up and covering bets as the event unfolds that can leave him losing a lot more money than he originally intended to bet with. More exciting yes, but can you cope with the stress?
Having said all of that you can still squeeze gambling advantage out of in running betting. If you are prepared to accept shorter odds on a horse whose form you have studied in-depth when you see a race running the way it likes it, by all means do so, but do so at a time that takes away the advantage of the time-differencers, for example just after it has made a jump not just before.
In running betting can be useful to recover loss situations. In football if you have had a bet on a team before the match and it is losing at half time, you might find a valuable nice price on the next goal scorer chosen from your team.
Understand the sport and its terminologies. In Formula One I had a nice 6/1 in play winner a couple of years ago, because I knew the meaning of the team instruction “Multi-21” (telling the race leader to let his teammate win the race) broadcast live towards the end of a Grand Prix.
Finally abandon new technology satellite TV and internet streaming. Medium Wave radio has by far the shortest delay in transmission. Unfortunately this medium won’t be around in the UK for too much longer, but until then Five Live and Talk Radio should be a serious source of live commentaries for in play bettors.