Bore Draw Snore

I’ve started three blogs this week with varying degrees of success. Or perhaps I should say failure, because none of them are ready to see the light of day. But that’s okay, I prefer to try and fail than fail to try.

Instead, here’s a quick look at the Bore Draw football betting offer, and what I think is a better alternative. Caution: This article contains tedious stats.

The Bore Draw special is a promotion whereby you get a refund on your bets if the game finishes 0-0. It’s still a big part of Bet365’s football offering, but it has been applied fairly widely across UK bookmakers.

Before I get into my trademark whiney negativity, I should say that I actually like this offer overall. It is clean, simple and applied consistently. More importantly, it provides additional value to the customer. Based on the last five Premier League seasons, 7% of games have led to punters getting their money back.

So whether I’m wearing my CRM hat, my responsible gambling hat, or my degenerate hat, this format deserves a passing grade. That’s a rare triple hat success.

The problem, though, is that it isn’t fun.

As I have mentioned before, I believe much of the enjoyment of gambling is in the suspense/anticipation of a possible win. It’s at that point where the brain’s reward system releases a big hit of dopamine (the druggy’s favourite). That’s where the gambling high comes from.

One thing that makes for a good gambling game, is that it maximises that period of jeopardy. You really get to savour the uncertainty and possibility. In most casino games, that period is very short, so the thrill is minor and the utility from each individual game is minimal.

Most of the thrill of sports betting is going to come from your main wagers. That is the bread and butter of your betting entertainment. Rebate special offers are the jam in the gambling sandwich – they just make it all taste a bit nicer.

But with the Bore Draw, by the time your bet has lost, the 0-0 is almost always out of the window too. Any goal at all ruins the jam.

It doesn’t have to be that way. When my former employer launched their scruffy bolt-on sportsbook, I proposed a Goalfest Refund. If there were X or more goals in the game, then losing bets would be refunded. Apologies, I should have mentioned there would be a dollop of algebra.

That way, if your bet looked dead and buried, at least there was still a chance for more goals and a refund. You might not get to taste the sweet jam, but it’s still edible and so the excitement isn’t over. To me, that is a superior gambling experience.

My suggestion for X was six goals. In the last five Premier League seasons, that has happened 101 times (5.3% of games). That’s less frequent than the Bore Draw, so for an operator it seemed like a good solution.

The sportsbook management liked the idea and got the analysts to work on it. They ultimately decided it would cost too much money, because games with a lot of goals are easier to predict than Bore Draws.

I don’t disagree with that assessment, but I strongly disagree with focusing on problems rather than solutions.

The main reason why high scoring games were predictable (at that time) was because Ronaldo and Messi were regularly piling in goals for Real and Barca against the dross of La Liga. I can think of two ways to fix this issue.

Firstly, just offer it on Premier League games, because that’s where the bulk of the bets are anyway. Then you don’t have to worry about Alaves or Elche getting hit for six.

Alternatively, set a line for the number of goals. By default, the promotion works at six, but if a game looks particularly leaky then move it up to seven (2% likelihood). For that matter, when Burnley play Brighton a week on Saturday, set the line at four (29.6% likelihood). You might coax out some extra bets on an otherwise unappealing fixture.

As long as the Goalfest line is displayed clearly and prominently, I see no issue with it being variable. I will concede though, that it becomes slightly less user friendly than the Bore Draw, which lives up to its name by always being the same.

Even without these solutions, I think it’s a promotion that is worth trialling. If a promotion turns out to be expensive, you can always turn it off again. But you’ll never know if you don’t innovate. The sports betting market is hugely competitive, you have to do something to stand out.

Sadly, nothing came of the idea, but I felt like it was worth resurrecting here. Maybe an operator is already doing it, but I can’t say I’m aware of this offer anywhere.

If you work for a sportsbook then help yourself. I’d certainly come over and give your platform a try. I bloody love a bit of jam.

Bobby’s Bets

I’ve been enjoying the Olympics, but it’s not that good for gambling so I’ve kept my hand in my pocket. A new test series has kicked off between England and India though, so if the weather improves there is action in my near future. Oh, and football is almost back. Game on!

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