Once upon a time, in order to place a bet, it was necessary to pay a visit to the offices of a bookmaker.

Today, this has all changed and bets can now additionally be placed over the phone and via the Internet.

In the past, punters could only back horses to win.

The only way that a horse could be layed to lose was if one became a bookmaker.

Now, not only is it possible for punters to back a horse to win, it is also possible to lay a horse to lose.

As such, we are now heavily dependent upon technology.

If a horse is to be backed to win and the technology fails just before the bet is placed what then?

A technology failure in this instance will do little to no damage to a betting bank.

If the horse subsequently loses, money will be saved.

If the horse subsequently wins, then the betting bank will be deprived of some profit, but that is all.

A similar argument can be put forward if a horse is to be layed to lose and the technology fails just before the bet is placed what then?

A technology failure in this instance will do little to no damage to a betting bank.

If the horse subsequently wins, money will be saved. If the horse subsequently loses, then the betting bank will be deprived of some profit.

Where a technology failure can do some real financial damage is when it fails in the middle of a trade/arbitrage.

Suppose that you spot a horse whose odds have been consistently shortening since betting on the race opened.

Suppose that you decided to trade the horse.

The horse is currently trading at 5.0 on a betting exchange and you fully expect the odds to shorten even further.

You, therefore, decide to back the horse to win using a stake of £1,000.

If the horse wins, you will win £1,000 x (5.0 - 1.0) = £1,000 x 4 = £4,000.

If the horse loses, you will lose £1,000 (your stake).

Now, let’s further suppose that the initial bet was matched on the betting exchange.

You then see that the odds on the horse begin to fall to 4.0 and you, therefore, decide to lay the horse to lose using a stake of £1,200.

If the horse wins, you will lose £1,200 x (4.0 - 1.0) = £1,200 x 3 = £3,600 on this bet but will win £4,000 on the first bet giving you a profit of £4,000 - £3,600 = £400.

If the horse loses, you will win £1,200 on this bet but will lose £1,000 on the first bet giving you a profit of £1,200 - £1,000 = £200.

However, just before you place the second bet, there is a technology failure.

If your horse wins, you will win £4,000.

If it doesn’t (and sod's law will ensure that it doesn’t), you will lose £1,000.

Such is your exposure to technology!

Technology failure comes in many forms.

Here are the main ones:

• Betting Exchange software failure

• Betting Exchange hardware failure

• Betting Exchange communications software failure• Betting Exchange communications hardware failure

• User PC software failure

• User PC hardware failure

• Broadband failure

• Electricity failure

When placing large bets, it is sheer folly to hope that the technology will work.

All of the above have happened to me in the past, at least once. And, technology has a way of failing at exactly the wrong time.

Fortunately, through forward planning, little financial damage resulted from the various technology failures.

I have found that the best way to ensure that the financial damage caused by a technology failure is kept to a minimum is to:

• Open telephone accounts with at least two betting exchanges.

• Ensure that the telephone accounts are already sufficiently funded.

• Keep the telephone numbers close to hand when placing bets using the normal methods.

• Keep both of the account numbers and passwords close to hand when placing bets using the normal methods.

• Ensure that your mobile phone is charged and close to hand when placing bets using the normal methods.

The above has served me well in the past and has allowed me to cope with more than the odd technology failure and to avert more than the odd potential financial disaster.