The betfair exchange crashed on Saturday afternoon (18th May) and crashing at that time of day has been all too frequent in recent times. It is a reminder of the dangers involved with the usually low risk activities like trading or scalping. Even if you can ‘green’ on most markets it’s no good if on even just one of your trades the whole stake can’t be offset at all after the market suspends. That can easily ruin the day for some.
Betfair aren’t usually able to refund bets even though this may seem a reasonable course of action. This is because it’s impossible to determine who planned to trade out and who were simply betting. Those on the other side of your potential trade may have placed a lay bet first thing in the morning and it would be unfair for their bet to be voided.
I’ve seen some on Twitter suggest that there be two markets one for trading and one for betting but this isn’t really practical and liquidity is thin enough at times without spreading it out further. You could have a box you tick that shows your intent to trade out and hence your bet could be voided if the market suspends but then I guess everyone could choose that option to reduce their risk whether they’re planning to trade out or not. Placers of lay bets would risk not being paid out if there was an outage (and they ticked the box) though so perhaps it could work? It’s not easy to come to a resolution that is fair to all.
One thing is for certain is that betfair need to get a grip on this issue now. Fair play to them for apologising by email which I’ve not seen them do before and even crediting the accounts of some a s a good-will gesture but preventing these far too frequent outages is well overdue now. Saturday afternoons are very busy but this is far from a surprise now and historically they’ve been much busier on the world’s most populars sports betting exchange. Hopefully we’ll see an improved service now.