Bookmakers are consistently profitable, year after year and the money they make obviously comes from people making losing bets. There are very few gamblers able to make money from backing horses in the long run. A few good results in the short term can convince some that they have an enduring ability to pick winners but time after time these people come unstuck in the end. The sad spectacle of punters increasing the size of their bets in an attempt to recoup losses is an all-too-familiar one.
There are, however, people who do make a living from betting on horses, sometimes a very good living. In fact, often the major problem these people have is not losing bets but being able to get a bet on in the first place. Bookies do not like consistent winners and will frequently ban them if they are making too much money, although the existence of online bookmakers and betting exchanges have solved this problem to some extent.
What, then, do these winners do differently from the average person who bets on horses? It is often thought that they must be getting tips from someone in the know, that they have access to the kind of information that the rest of us don`t. This may be true occasionally but the real answer is that they put in the time and effort to study and analyse information that is available to all. There is an enormous wealth of such information to be found in racing newspapers and websites. People who consistently turn a profit from betting on horses scrutinise this information and develop an encyclopaedic knowledge of horses, breeding, courses, lifetime form, recent form and many other factors that will determine whether a horse has a good chance of winning or not.
Of course, bookies have access to this kind of information too and use it to price up every horse they offer odds on. This fact may seem to imply that betting on a horse is a no-win situation but remember that the bookies are only human. They make mistakes. Either they haven`t taken an important piece of information into account or they have got carried away when competing with other bookies to offer the best price. This is the time to take advantage and put a bet on. It may seem like a dull way to make a profit, but it is the only way to ensure consistent success in the long term. Placing a smaller number of bigger bets when you have the upper hand versus the bookies is far better than trying your luck with smaller bets when you don`t have the advantage.
Betting exchanges now offer another way to beat the bookies. Rather than betting with them when they give too good a price on a horse, you can offer better odds when they have mispriced it the other way - that is, their odds are too short. Again, information and analysis is the key factor for success when doing this.
When you see that riding helmet covered in the colours of your chosen horse approaching the winning post, remember that all of that hard work of studying and investigation has been worth it.