Bookmakers at racecourses around the country could soon be advertising their odds in decimal form if a trial later this year proves successful.
The group Racing for Change, responsible for modernising the sport of horse racing, is proposing that bookmakers replace the traditional fractions system, which it argues is confusing to occasional race goers and younger punters, with a decimal system used more commonly in online betting.
Under the decimal format, used widely on betting exchanges and by Tote bookmakers, the price displayed represents the total return that a punter would receive from a £1 stake, including their original stake.
Under the decimal format, odds of 11/8 would be advertised as 2.38, returning £2.38 for a £1 stake whilst odds of 10/1 would be advertised at 11.00, with an £11 return for the same stake.
“While a lot of people are used to 11-2 and 6-4, we know that younger adults find that pretty incomprehensible,” said Nick Attenborough, of Racing for Change. “Even people who have an occasional bet on the Grand National have to grapple with prices like 13-2.”
A trial of the new system has been planned for a televised race meeting in the Spring, although details are yet to be confirmed. If the trial proves successful, the system could be rolled out nationwide.
“If we have a majority one way or another we have to follow that,” Mr Attenborough said. “But I’m not going to offer odds on which way it will go.” Others believe a decimals victory is a racing certainty.
“It’s a clearer way of doing it,” said Tony Calvin, of Betfair, the betting exchange that has used only decimal odds since the online betting exchange was established ten years ago. “If you lay £100 on a horse at 2.3, it’s pretty apparent that you stand to get £230 back, 11-8 would take a bit of scrambling to work out. Traditional odds were born in a past currency. A lot of the prices are just baffling.”