FINAL UPDATE

Around about now I was going to provide another update for the Lay the Best service.  However, events have ovetaken me and as things stand, this will be the last update.

First, let me provide the update and then I will attempt to explain my understanding of certain developments.

As previously explained, I had not been in a position to follow all the selections provided by Lay the Best, the age old problem of being in two places at one time.  However, for those bets I did place my results are in-line with the “official” results on the LtB website – some prices on the site are a bit higher than mine and some a bit lower.  Also, regarding some selections where I was unable to place a bet, I checked Betfair’s SP and again the prices are in-line with those on the site.  Someone did point out to me that one or two of the results on the site broke LTB’s own rules for maximum price, but I think this is more likely to be a misunderstanding of the price rule that appears in every LtB email.  This states that a lay should not be placed if industry SP is higher than 4/1 (5.00 in decimal odds).  As most readers know, in practice this means that if the industry SP is 5.00 the odds with Betfair will probably be higher – but the bet still qualifies. On that basis I double checked the results on the site and while some selections were over 5.00, I couldn’t find any sign that industry SP was over this.

So, with one glaring ommission, the figures on the site are accurate.  Results for horse racing show just under 11 points for January and to February 12th (the significance of this date will be revealed shortly) just over 4 points.  For the year until 12th February profits are approximately 15 points, or £375 laying to £25 level stakes, as used in the trial.  

The glaring ommission mentioned above gives me considerable cause for concern, however.  As I stated, January’s results on the website show a profit of almost 11 points… but, the results are almost entirely for horse racing.  Subsequent to 20th January the service decided to concentrate predominately on horse racing.  Prior to that, however, there were selections for a variety of other sports.  Conspicuous by their absense from the “official” results are any mention of results for sports such as NHL, Handball, Tennis, etc.  As these selections clearly appeared in the emails that were sent out, where are the results?  Possibly more importantly, why are they missing? 

My own position is that, if the emails had included selections for horse racing only, the service would be showing a profit and the results would be accurate.  Given that until 20th January the selections included a variety of other sports, however, the posted results do not reflect the true position.  To my mind they are seriously misleading and clearly beg the question of whether this is intentional.  If I were cynical, I would think that spin is being put on the posted results to attract new custom.  If I had paid my £50 subscription, followed the selections and made a loss, I would want to know why the posted results show a profit. 

Moving on to the reason why this will be the final update.  On 12 February, I received an email from the proprietor stating that I was being removed from the email list because, “… a very large portion of your most recent update is inaccurate, however you didn’t contact us to ask about most of the points raised, so I don’t see how you could post that ‘false’ information with a true picture.”  I was somewhat taken aback by this: as a reviewer I do not think it incumbent upon me to ask about “various points raised”, but to report overt facts and other facts made known to me.  My last update stated that the service had returned a profit for the year to date (mid-January) and I was scratching my head wondering what the inaccuracies might be.

Being unable to bear the suspense, I decided to email LtB and ask them to clarify how specifically a very large portion of my most recent update was inaccurate.  Their reply stated “… we are only  sending out horse racing selections now and not the other sports 
selections, as these were only ever previously ‘bonus lays’.”  To my mind the argument is specious, these “bonus lays” appeared in last year’s results, October to December inclusive.  If they should be excluded, then I would need to go back and exclude them from the trial results.  However, in my view that does not excuse the so-called bonus lays being given out in the daily selections email (wihout reminders that these are bonus lays) and then being excluded from January’s results.

The reply went on to challenge my comments regarding LtB refund policy and pointed out that there is a legal document that states that there are caveats and conditions to any refund.  I asked LtB to point me to where on their site the terms and conditions regarding the refund policy appear.  The reply did not address this, but amongst other things pointed out January’s “profits”.  Given that the site does not include results for all the selections (see above) I regard the statement as specious.  In my reply, 13th February, I referred LtB to my previous email and asked them to address the point (about refunds policy) that I had raised.  I am still awaiting a reply.

To wrap up, the horse racing selections do appear to be profitable and on the basis of that alone, I would recommend an Approved rating.  However, I am concerned that the results on the site do not match the selections sent out and while I am not legally trained, I would think that Terms and Conditions that are not readily available on the website are not worth the paper on which there is no proof they have been written.  With these concerns in mind, and until they have been satisfactorily addressed, I think that it is appropriate to leave this as Neutral.