This is an interesting business plan

Bentley Global, which used the money from selling mini-bonds to make bets on football games, has raised almost £10m from investors since February 2018. It had paid out interest of between 12pc and 20pc per year, but has not made a payment since March 2020 when sporting events were either halted or played without spectators.

It’s even possible that it would work too. There are distortions in sports books because they’re based upon the weight of money not any objective factors. Thus, just for example, the odds on the All Blacks winning on a NZ sports book are different from those of their doing so on an English book when playing England. There’s an arbitrage possible between the two books.

Not that I think that these folks were doing this, not in the slightest. But it is, in theory at least, vaguely possible.

I have significant suspicion that there was joyous punting going on, not careful arbitrage of sports books, and thus that it will have slipped into Ponzi territory. But that is, of course, only opinion….

7 thoughts on “This is an interesting business plan”

  1. How bonkers do you have to be to lend someone money which they explicitly say they will spunk it on BetFred!?

  2. @MC: I can think of several “green” companies that are getting tons of investment even though simple back of the envelope engineering calculations shows their ideas are utter bollocks and any investment is equivalent to just burning the money. At least you might win a bet with a surprise result.

  3. It’s easy to see an arbitrage in, say, Spurs v Man U because a lot of betting is emotional. The rational choice is bet on MUFC in London, and Spurs in Manchester.
    But the bookies see you coming and do their own arbitrage.
    It’s a bit more complicated internationally. England v France will be biased to England in England, but laying off the exposure in France is difficult because the PMU is a monopoly and won’t accept foreign corporate bets.
    That said, there is a sort of reinsurance market and at least one firm offers cover to bookies based on mathematical modelling. Margins are thin but consistent.

  4. Loughran was all about arbitrage, or value at least, initially, so probably not just naked punts.

    Between 12% and 20% – bit volatile for interest on a “mini-bond”, but can’t be arsed to discover the terms.

    “when sporting events were either halted or played without spectators.”

    I’ve been wondering how the lack of spectators might have impacted results this season – and the back-end of the last.

    And whether the cash flowing to the bookies has changed as well – potentially fewer naive punters leading to different prices.

  5. Arthur, maybe the Greenies are betting on government subsidy and the consumer being compelled to purchase?

  6. Tony Bloom’s Starlizard, which was a pioneer in commercial sports betting, was reported to produce consistent profits. They were generated by analysis of enormous quantities of data, proprietary algorithms, some arbitrage between Asia and Europe etc. There is also an element of taking a view, like everyone else, but if done in a disciplined way it can work. No chance I would invest personally however.

  7. There was an interesting comment in one of the six nations games that the player in the open shouting for the ball would never have normally been heard over the crowd so how it affects actual play could be interesting to look at.
    There is also the tight games where the emotional edge of a home crowd can provide a boost and that even good referees aren’t immune to reacting to crowd noise in 50/50 situation

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