Twitter Tipsters — Bookmaker Affiliates That Want You To Lose?

Over the last couple of years there’s been some negative media attention on the “Twitter Tipsters” — the guys that tweet sports betting tips to their followers. Vice Sports published an article which whole-wholeheartedly slated them, questioned their credentials, their honesty and what they actually offer to punters.

Do Twitter Tipsters deserve criticism?

I have some experience in this field, so I’m able to offer an insider’s perspective.


Disclaimer: I have tried to remain unbiased and rational in answering this question. But I couldn't possibly claim to know about each and every 'Twitter Tipster'.

 

The Affiliate System

Firstly, let’s take a look at how Twitter Tipsters earn a profit.

What Vice Sports drew attention to in their article was that the ‘Affiliate Tipsters‘ earn money when the very people they are advising to lose theirs. This is absolutely true for affiliates under a “revenue share” scheme, and helps to explain why so many Tipsters are motivated to constantly share their so-called “expert knowledge” with the public.


How the “Revenue Share” Model Works

A Bookmaker’s affiliate system involves a referrer (the Tipster in this case), who will be paid a monthly commission when the Bookmaker earns a profit from those referred customers. This is in the region of 20-40% of the net revenue.

Remember that Bookmakers only earn when their players lose money. So there’s every incentive for the affiliate Tipster to refer players that lose overall.  Referred plays who collectively win won’t earn them a commission.

It sounds cynical, but the best scenario an affiliate Tipster could hope for is that punters sign up to Bookmakers through his links and follow his losing bets.


Do Tipsters Give Losing Bets?

I’m not saying that all Tipsters provide losing bets. In fact It’s very difficult to predict what’s going to lose you money in sports betting. If it were that easy we would be able to earn a living from sports betting by Laying “losing” selections on Betfair.

But here’s the issue I have: Tipsters should generally be recommending you odds on a betting exchange — where you’ll get the best odds possible. Instead they’re recommending Bookmakers, where you’ll get inferior odds.

The problem stems from the fact that they’ll earn a lot more from the hefty commission % on losses incurred at Bookmakers than a share of the (relatively minuscule) commission earned on winnings at the Exchange. There’s little motivation to promote betting exchanges.


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So realistically, those punters who avidly back Twitter tips at the Bookies are likely to incur losses over a long period of time. And the Tipsters ultimately benefit from that.

So think about that for a second.

No actually, don’t even think about it. Just ask yourself: if a Tipster needs losing players to earn money, then why would you accept advice from him?

Note: Some Tipsters charge a % on winnings. This carries it's own risks. Learn more from my post: Will Tipsters Make Me Money? Can They Be Trusted?

But Why Would Anyone Continue to Follow a Tipster That’s Losing Them Money?

Here’s an interesting counter-argument: if a Tipster provides losing tips, then he isn’t going to keep his following, or attract new signups through his affiliate links. Right?

Whilst I agree in principle, I know that there’s no shortage of punters looking to blindly follow tips on Twitter. Just because one person sees the cracks appearing doesn’t mean another won’t witness one or two winning tips and spontaneously load up their betting account. Not everyone does thorough checks. Furthermore, some gamblers will keep faith even if they’re losing.

I think Vice are right to criticise the affiliate setup Tipsters have with the Bookies.

 

Twitter Tipping Culture

Tips are regularly fired out by Twitter Tipsters. And there’s no end of punters that are looking to be spoon-fed selections. But, you know what — who am I or anyone else to criticise that?

What Vice Sports failed to acknowledge is that a lot of Punters do just enjoy betting with a community. Twitter is the perfect platform for Tipsters and Punters to offer an opinion on sport, to brag/celebrate about their winnings in front of a crowd, and to soak up their losses together.

Whilst gamblers are an optimistic bunch I don’t think that all followers of Twitter Tipsters genuinely believe they’re going to earn huge profits. I think most of them realise they’re gambling for fun.

However, there are still hundreds of Twitter Tipster accounts across social media asking for hefty subscription fees for private or ‘VIP’ tips. I’d avoid those (read more in the following section on ‘Profitability’).

If you follow the selections from a Twitter Tipster, you ought to at the very least:

  • Verify the performance of the account (preferably over a lot of bets).
  • Limit you stake sizes.
  • Shop around for the best odds yourself as opposed to backing where the Tipster tells you to (crucial).
  • Avoid following anyone that gives advice like “nevermind the losses, let’s re-load and go again tomorrow Lads!”
  • Treat success stories — such as evidence/screenshots of winnings — with a pinch of salt.

I’m certain that many Tipster Twitter accounts involve mates, colleagues, associates, and false identities to propagate positive feedback on their page. You can’t believe everything you read.

 

Profitability

As I regularly preach on this blog, the whole concept of Tipping doesn’t really lend itself to value betting. If you’re receiving several selections in one go then it’s unlikely to work, full stop. Read more on placing multiple bets at once.

Another issue with the Twitter Tipsters is that they heavily rely on self promotion. For example, “bigging up” their own wins and playing down their losses. I don’t think it’s always deliberate either. Some Tipsters are gamblers themselves and are most likely in the habit of doing precisely that — playing up wins. It’s not a good trait for successful sports betting, though.

The biggest problem is that profit-and-loss sheets are rarely kept by Twitter Tipsters. Vice Sport claimed that a lot of Tipsters were making up their profit/loss records, and when they tracked it independently it showed a huge loss. I haven’t personally proofed any twitter Tipsters, so I can’t comment on that.

I have however subscribed to an online Tipping service with a professional-looking website, payment gateway and immaculate track record. I found that the profit/loss records were deceitful, and quoted odds which existed at some point the day in time — but were ultimately impossible to obtain.


Imagine odds settled at 5.0 (pre-race) but peaked at 9.0 earlier in the day. This service would put down 9.0 on their records in order to bloat the PnL.


The moral here is to verify that the odds and results quoted by any Tipster are actually achievable. It’s vitally important.

 

Punter2Pro Was (Sort of) a Twitter Tipster Once Upon a Time…

I did indeed fire out betting stats on Twitter. Does this make me a hypocrite?

In my defence I always stated that the stats I provided were there to assist Punters in making informed bets. Nothing was speculative, it all came from an automated system. But importantly, I never guaranteed profits, and quoted Betfair prices because they were the best value. For lack of a better term, the Punter2Pro Twitter was a “betting aid.

However, being a betting aid and providing (seemingly) unrivalled statistics had limited success in the Twitter Tipping minefield. Whilst feedback from professionals was consistently positive, the majority of gamblers saw it as too much effort. After all, another Twitter account would guarantee his followers would become a millionaire within the year — why bother with Punter2Pro?


the suggestions were based on market data.

Twitter Tipsters


Who knows, maybe it just needed a little more time to catch on. I still believe there’s a gap in the market for a ‘betting aid’ which doesn’t promise results, but encourages smart selections.

Anyhow, due to the data collection required, the automated tips was an expensive project to run, so it eventually came to a halt.

 

My Conclusion on Twitter Tipping

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving/receiving advice on betting. It actually brings a sociable element to what’s usually solitary. Just keep in mind that a lot of Twitter Tipsters are using affiliate links for the bookmakers and won’t earn unless their referred customers collectively lose money in a given month.

As a result of the affiliate setup you can expect to find Twitter Tipsters saying things like:


“we’re releasing all our tips tonight lads — load up your Bet365 accounts and we’ll take them down!”.


But as I’ve made clear in this post: there’s pretty much nothing that’s profitable about this approach to betting. And even if it was profitable, do you think Bet365 would tolerate their own affiliates encouraging people to take them down?

So do the Twitter Tipsters deserve heavy criticism?

I’m not a believer in the selections provided by Twitter Tipsters. But the Bookmakers deserve the bulk of criticism — they facilitate this whole game to begin with.

So take my advice and carefully assess Twitter Tipsters on an individual basis.

You might also want to:

 


Further Reading:

Do Betting Tipsters Offer Value? Can They Be Trusted?

My Experience With A Well-Known ‘Professional’ Sports Tipping Service

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Tony McCord
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Tony McCord

Toby – do any tipsters (or even subscribers to one) ever try to defend themselves when they see you post stuff like this? I’d like to see someone give genuine proof of winning, season on season.

Toby
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No, not really. I’m open to seeing proof of winning Tipsters though.
Most of the readers of this blog seem to be more interested in arbing, matched betting, trading strategies etc.

Kevin Jacobs
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Kevin Jacobs

some twitter acc’s have proper MASSIVE followings.
its mad how many gamblers buy into it.

Toby
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Yep, tens of thousands… It’s very popular.

Michael Møller
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Michael Møller

Hi Toby It is not the first time I read about this issue, but I do think it is a bit to much black and white. Even though you call it twitter tipster then it takes the mind to all tipsters who have affiliate links for Bookmakers A “normal” tipsters wouldn’t intentionally give loosing tips while the loss in subscription would long term exceed the gain in a 30% affiliate bonus. Even though the you get 30% as long the punter are with the bookmaker. I would go the other way and say it is a tipsters job to help… Read more »

Toby
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Hi, Thanks for your comment. I tried to be fair in what I wrote. In this situation I felt that it was best to take a fairly strong stance in case any readers got the idea that Tipsters are the way forward. In my opinion it’s not the way to go – but granted, i can’t speak for every single one. There’s thousands of Tipsters out there in the UK alone. It’s true that Tipsters often promote some decent free bets to their followers. I was just trying to emphasise that under usual circumstances you wouldn’t want to use Bookies… Read more »