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Old 03-01-2011, 04:53 PM
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Default BetMaker.com Suggestion Letter

Below is a copy of the email sent to Betmaker.com. The email was too long for one message, so please continue to reply #1. I will be speaking to them regarding this email tomorrow. Any other suggestions, please feel free to reply to this forum message.

Hello Rich, Paul and Betmaker.com staff,

I am taking the time to write you this email after speaking to Paul at length last night regarding your exchange. He is also being copied on this email. I must say, it was very pleasant to have someone actually listen to ideas and concerns. In 2006, 2007, and 2008 I was a large volume trader at Tradesports.com, and their management belief was that their clients knew nothing - and they did not care about any suggestions. Upon the closure of Tradesports, I moved all of my trading activity to Matchbook.com. They did not have the same arrogrant style of management - but more of a who cares type of attitude. Even though they supposively sold the business - they were clearly a failure.

Discussions of your exchange, Betmaker.com, have come to the forefront of many forums as there are a very limited amount of exchange platforms available for a trader from the US to use. Most of the comments regarding your operation that I have read have been very negative. It is apparent that you are owned by Bookmaker.com, which from my understanding is one of the top rated online books available. This is excellent when considering the security of the funds that one deposits to you. But as mentioned in the SBR forum, most users regard Betamker.com as the $100 investment that Bookmaker doesnt really care about. The other main knocks on the site are deposit options, no games left open for live trading, absolutely no liquidity, they fact that you are seeding your own markets, and that the platform programming is very primatively. I feel that these are some areas that your users can help you to devlope from their experiences with other exchanges.

Betmaker.com now has a unique opportunity to capitalize on an entire market and become the only game in town. The time frame of this opportunity is very limited however. In the next few months, Im sure a few new exchanges will try to get off the ground, thus dividing the potential clients and creating poor liquidity at each exchange. In addition, the users that are being closed out of Matchbook in the next 31 days will be looking for somewhere to put their money. Regular books may get these funds if there is not a viable exchange option out there. Im sure you have a staff of IT professionals who could quickly put together some modifications to your operation and create an exchange that would be at the forefront of all online gaming sites. If you can quickly capture the vast majority of market share, clients will become familiar with your site and will not stray to fledging operations that may arise.

In 2008, I opened my own website dedicated to sports trading. We have close to 1000 users, of which approximately 100 are very active. We feature a live java chat room that is very active during professional sports game times; a forum for discussion; a live odds chart that allows users to see the best available odds at some of the major online bookmakers; and betting calculators to help with free plays, etc.

In the vast amount of time that I have spent trading and associating myself with other traders, there have been many great ideas that have been suggested to various sites. Last night, the members of my site and myself spent some time discussing things that could make Betmaker.com the predominant exchange available to traders. Some of the ideas we have discussed are as follows:

1) Market makers are the driving force behind all successful exchanges. They should pay no fees in exchange for providing set liquidity levels. This was the policy at Tradesports - and was a reason why Tradesports had such a successful in game program. Matchbook did not reward market makers, hence the empty markets on all events that were left open live.

2) For live wagering - Limit the number of games that are listed on your front page as featured. There should be one game "featured" per time slot. 7pm, 8:30/9pm, 10:30pm. There are also many daytime soccer opportunities in the major divisions. On weekends follow the same pattern during the day but also feature possibly Golf, Nascar/F1, Tennis, etc. Make sure all live events are easily viewed on major networks, ESPN, TNT, TBS, CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL Networks, VS. By creating a featured live gamne list - those are the events that will have the expectation of a live liquid market provided by your market makers. In addition, all other events should be left open until completion (however, bids/offers should be cleared at the listed starting time to avoid problems). These other events, not being listed on the featured page, will have no expectation of liquidity - however may have local followings where people will match offers. There is no cost to you to leave them active, but a potential profit should they trade.

3) Simplify your fee structure. The win tax is a great idea in my opinion - as paying commission after losing a trade is not benifical to your exchange. There will always be players who are your big
winners - and they should play the majority of the commissions. Players who lose more often will have their balances depleted more if they also have to pay commissions and thus play less. Set your commission at perhaps 2.5% win tax. But offer discounts to commission for price making, and volume that could possibly result in commissions as low at 1.5%. Make the small discounts easily reachable but the full discount difficult to attain.

4) Make sure there is an API available to both market makers and traders. Automated trading will only help to increase the liquididty of the exchange. Try to limit the delay as much as possible. It seems 4 seconds has become the industry standard for entering an order.

5) You currently list American Odds, and Decimal odds. You should also offer fractional and percentage (0-100) odds views. In addition, the current rounding method of the decimal odds needs to be modified. In some instances it carries out to 6 decimal places. Most sites round off at two decimal places. Percentage odds were very popular at both Tradesports and Matchbook.

6) Create a Betmaker.Net website. Your parent company has a Bookmaker.Net site - and this would enable you to advertise the exchange without it being a gambling site. People would naturally enter the .com extension anyway. This would be a great practice site for people to learn to trade and you would also be able to hold contests there.

7) Immediately eliminate the bonus codes that are available for added cash to the deposits. An exchange should not have a stake in the trading. Covering deposit fees as commission credits seems to have been a standard - But offering a bonus that would also be given as commission fees would be very new to the exchange websites. A 10% initial commission credit, with 5% reload credits would be much more than any exchange trader would be accustomed to.

8) Modify the appearance of your markets. Elinate the Depth and For/Against boxes and create new defaults. Have the markets automatically show 3 offers deep with possibly some sort of small scroll arrows to look further in one direction. Instead of listing MLs, Point Spreads and Totals seperate, combine all runners for one game to appear as follows:

Team 1 ML (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) Team 2 ML
Team 1 -5.5 (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) +5.5 Team 2
Over 200.5 1v2 (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) Under 200.5 1v2

By doing this you will have all markets for a specific game grouped and promote trading in more than one runner. Keeping the amount matched and available is a great fetaure that you already have listed. Possibly a last price traded display might also be nice.

Any event that have two entites facing each other can be displayed like above. Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey. For Soccer it would be ML, Draw Yes/No and Total

For golf, or auto racing or futures, they could be listed as follows
Golfer 1 To win (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) To Lose
Golfer 2 To win (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) To Lose
Driver 1 To win Daytona (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) To Lose
Driver 2 To win Daytona (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) To Lose
NBA Champ LaL To win (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) To Lose
NBA WestConf LaL To win (3rd best) (2nd best) (best price) | (best price) (2nd best) (3rd best) To Lose

This gives the player the opportunity to look at both sides and will simply the view.

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:54 PM
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Continued...

9) Display of current profit and loss position and a smart balance is a necessity for an exchange to maximize the trading and liquidity. Lets say I start out with a $100 risk at even money on the money line of Team 1. And $100 is all I have in my account. It should be displayed as follows in the Market:

[+100] Team 1 ML (3rd best)(2nd best)(best price) | (best price)(2nd best)(3rd best) Team 2 ML [-100]

I now know if Team 1 wins, I am +100 and if team 2 wins, I am -100. Green and red are two suitable colors for the display of profit and loss.

At this time my 0.00 balance would stop me from wagering any additional on Team 1. However, lets say that Team 1 gets out to a big lead, and the price for team 2 has moved to +200. I now place a bet of $75 to win $150 on Team 2. Your system should allow me to place this wager because I already have the potential to win $100 on team one. After this trade it should be displayed in the market as follows:

[+25] Team 1 ML (3rd best)(2nd best)(best price) | (best price)(2nd best)(3rd best) Team 2 ML [+50]

By placing that wager - I now have no risk in this market and a guaranteed profit with either team winning. Thus my available balance to trade should once again be $100. When the event ends, you take the commission from which ever side won the event and the winnings goto the users account.The same should be done in a market with 20 drivers or golfers. Profit and loss should be figured out and siaplyed for each player.

10) Halftime lines/Alternate lines are very popualar to wager on. This is something that you should work with your market makers on to see what halftime lines they are willing to price. Maybe just the live games - or maybe all games. If you set up your markets as I mentioned above - it would be very easy to add an alternate line. If the game becomes a blow out, you can tell your market maker you want to add a new option for him to keep live. It keeps the game interesting and will generate more commissions for you.

11) Set a live line and stick to it. Matchbook had a very bad habit of having a line posted all day that people were trading - and then changing the line 5 mins before the game would start.

12) Deposit and withdrawal methods need to be new, and cutting edge, and readily available. When users see methods disappear and become unavailable they worry about the security of their money. It is great that you accept E Check, Western Union, Money Gram, Money Bookers, Bank wires and even Visa. Please make sure to keep an inexpensive alternative for users to withdraw. Possibly $5 regular mail checks, but also offer other options such as Fed Ex for those checks for the correct fee. There are also some third party processors that allow you to deposit via Bill pay from your online bank account. Another great option that you should have available is book to book transfers - and also member to member transfers. Many of the users know each other and will work out payment to each other to obtain funds. I have had in the past a friend of mine send me money on pay pal if I would give him money on a website we both used. Charge a $1 transfer fee if necessary.

13) Creating a chat room and/or a forum would give you the chance to better hear what your users are saying - as opposed to having them post messages on other sites. And being that you seem interested in suggestions possibly your management could handle them much better than that of Matchbook. It would also create a buzz around live trading if your users could chat about it. Tradesports would put an icon next to the usernames in the chat box showing how much volume they created for the site.

14) All events should have a check box next to them allowing the user to add them to a favorites or portfolio or watch list (All runners for the event should be added ML, spread, total - or all entrants if its golf or racing). Any event that has been checked off, those markets should appear when a user clicks on a watchlist tab. This will allow the user to watch all of the markets that they are interested in without going back and clicking thru the menus. They should be tradable right from the watch list by just clicking on the price that is to be matched and then be removed either at the grading of the event or unselecting of the event.

These are just some of the options that we have discussed that could be very helpful in your rise as a prominent exchange. I look very forward to the opportunity to talk to you tomorrow as Paul said you would be available to speak to me on Wednesday.

Thank you for your time.

Todd
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:16 PM
Jizay Jizay is offline
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Nice list. It does risk being overwhelmingly long. Would you say that the numbering reflects the order of importance of these comments?
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:45 PM
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Great conversation with Rich @ Betmaker today. They seem very receptive to ideas and I am optimistic that they will be making some positive strides to create a successful exchange for American players that wont end up like Matchbook and Tradesports.

First, in response to many of the internet rumors that they are not owned by Bookmaker.com - They are. Which is very positive for security of funds.

I will review my discussions with Rich based on the numbered suggestions:

1) Market makers will always trade free - as long as they meet the liquidy requirements set forth by Betmaker. This levels will be known by the MMer in advance.

2) The amount of live wagering games will be limited to games that have dedicated market makers. If the market maker only wants to market make a point spread - only that will be left open. If they are willing to do multiple runners, those will be left open. Right now they have no MMers that are willing to do basketball, so hopefully that will change very shortly with the addition of new MMers. NFl and GHolf are usually left live and inplay.

3) Fee structure is 2% Win Tax on Sports, 2.4% on horses. No fees for losing plays. No fee/rebatye for price taking/making. The old free structure will be abolished - and the page will be changed on their website shortly.

4) API is available to anyone - simply email Betmaker and they will send you the details.

5) Adding new odds conversions is on their radar and can be expected. But the time frame is months. When I mentioned to him how much easier it is to trade a live game with % odds, he did agree and said that is a change that could be made before football season. We forgot to discuss rounding the decimal odds to 2 or 3 places - but I will mention that to him in my follow up email.

6) In time, Bookmaker.net will be created as a play site, and one that can be advertised.

7) The bonus codes that are available are from the old Betmaker site from before it was purchased by Bookmaker. There are no bonuses for deposit, as they want no stake in the action that is going on on the exchange. This is great for the financial stability of the site.

8) The appearance of the markets will not change, as they want them modeled in the style of BetFair.
It was recommended to me try try these settings:
Choose preferred Odds Display
Uncheck For and Aganist
And I chose to leave market depth so I can see the validity of the prices listed.
This appearance is actually fine for trading.
And as I look at it more - even with the For and Agaist Checked - it will still be fine just takes a little getting use to. For an event like Golf - youd want the for and against visible since there are more than two runners.

9) Current Profit and loss is displayed in the market you are betting.

There is a screen shot with an attached example.
I started out wagering $1 on The Dallas Mavericks -6.5. The profit potetial shows up in green under Dallas - and the risk shows up in Red under Minnesota. I then placed a $1.10 wager on Minnesota to offset my risk on Dallas. The profit/loss figures adjusted - AND smart balance figured out my maximum risk on the game, just is/was done on Betfair, Matchbook and Tradesports.

In addition there is a total positions box at the right of the markets box. I wagered another $1 on Dallas just to see the update.

Once you have money in your account, it is much easier to understand the platform than when you are looking at it without making a trade.

10) Haltime lines and alternate lines will be used. An alternate line can always be added to a game that is left up live if the game becomes a blow out. But they also said that they would leave the old lines open because players will still have equity in them. Alternate lines can easily be added at a market makers request.

11) Live lines will be posted well in advance and used as posted. Only .5 lines will be used to avoid pushes.

12) They are working on deposit and withdrawal methods - as we all know this is the hardest there is. They have Echeck, WU/MG, Bank Wire, Money Bookers, and Netteller. I will be providing them with some details for another processor. If anyone else has suggestions please post them here or email.

13) There is consideration being given to a chat room or forum but it is not high on the priority list. But all I can say is - When you dial the toll free number - someone answers - Better than anything I have experienced in quite some time.

14) They loved the portfolio suggestion. Rich equated it to a "My page" situation. This will enable a player to group together live games, or A point spread from one game with a total from another game, etc. And the markets would update live on the "My Page".

In all my years of dealing with sports books, exchanges, etc, this was by far the most encouraged I have ever been from a conversation.

Id recommend everyone to make an initial deposit via Echeck - even if its only a small amount - this was your Echeck approval is much quicker next time around.

Please let me know when you sign up!

Todd
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:42 AM
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gr8 news lets hope it takes off

the stc crew need to hoist it!
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