Whats the chances?
Two weeks from now and we will be well into the best four days of the calendar year for those of us who love the jumps. Those who prefer life without its hurdles will,of course,look forward to Royal Ascot in June. Both have been ticked off my bucket list already,and I tend to at least try to have a few quid set aside for them as I attempt to take the bookies on.
God loves a trier,after all. Though He’s been making a good job of pretending recently that He isn’t actually that interested!
The bookies too,love a trier-especially one who actually isn’t that lucky. I flatter myself that I am,that I am way ahead of the ledger over the years. And even if I’m not,the big wins are important while the occasional ten or twenty on a Saturday isn’t missed-and that is something that only makes sense to regulars in a betting shop! So following on from MAHE’s excellent article yesterday about how football is eating itself,I thought I would share a wee titbit about the gambling-especially as it came hot on the heels of some serious Cheltenham news!
Monday night,the only game of any significance was Everton v Southampton. The latter have been in a dreadful run of form,but Everton aren’t much better at the moment. The prices weren’t that attractive,given that the bet was on two out of form teams,so I didn’t bother. BetVictor weren’t inclined to give up on me though,and offered me various options soon afterwards,my mail inbox being splattered with offers.
One which caught my eye was their BetBuilder. I actually mailed them about that around two years ago,pointing out that it was an illegal bet. Seems the laws have changed. The reason I know it is-or was-an illegal bet is because I put a bet builder on DECADES AGO!
1987 FA Cup Final,I was working in South Shields. Football on the telly,but Spurs v Coventry? Who CGAF about that-certainly not me! Except…
Clive Allen had scored about 40 goals that season,he was 6-1 for the first goal. Me being me,I figured out how to make a profit from that-and have an interest for the whole game! The bookie next door to the pub was an independent,so I offered him the following slip.
Allen first goal,6/1
3x£1 singles,3x50p doubles and a 50p treble.
He told me to GTF,that’s an illegal bet-betting on the same event. I said it was the equivalent of an win,forecast and tricast. He told me to come back in an hour,he would see what he could do. And what he did was take the bet for a quid,not a fiver,and at 4/1,14/1 and 14/1-IIRC,not sure as it was a long time ago. I remember how much the payout was though.
Well,if Allen scored first I still got my money back-and that was the whole point of the bet! I’d found a way to beat the bookies!!!
(I hadn’t actually. I forgot about the tax)
So there I am in a pub in Geordieland cheering on the southerners-for all of two minutes until Allen scored! Think I got away with that one… Then cheering them on again after Coventry had equalised-and calling Cyrille Regis a big fouling bugger when he scored just before half time,fortunately it was ruled out. I damned near hit the roof shortly after when Gary Mabbutt put Spurs in front!!!
Not many Spurs fans around here,said the guy next to me at the bar at half time. Eh? I’m not a Spurs fan! Wheey,ya fooking sound like one!
I told him I might surprise him in the second half-and I did. Because I’d spent most of the first half cheering on Spurs-it was one each after ten minutes-but I now needed Coventry to score. So for twenty minutes or so,I’m cheering them on,with a pub full of Geordies wondering if my drink has been spiked! And once the equaliser goes in,I start demanding that defenders break bloody legs,don’t let anyone get a shot away!!!
You’ll gather I got my bet up,and I explained the situation to the lads around me. Then in comes the bookie-no night racing back then-and hands me £141.30. £157 less the tax. And I was actually apologetic about it! Sorry,illegal bet,thanks for taking it,feel guilty,etc.
Not at all,mate. I saw what you did and why-laid it off and put a ton on over the phones. It’s me that’s buying you a drink.
Now,what’s that got to do with anything? Well,remember all these mails on Monday night? I was betting on the important aspects of that match-the result. First goal,half time score were crucial too-but there was little that I or anyone else could do to influence any of it. Particularly not when the whole country was watching it live on TV. But there are nearly 200 bets now available on matches,and that includes all the ones that aren’t shown live. How many corners or free kicks,how many red or yellow cards. A specific player to be carded. All of these are highly manipulable,and will largely slip under the radar. Even a penalty is little surprise these days,depending on which team you put the money on.
And there’s the rub,the big question. Who have you put the money on? Who had a reason to release an old photo which shows Gordon Elliott in such a bad light-and why now? Has someone perhaps put a wedge on Willie Mullins-blameless himself,I hasten to add-and laid off large against Elliott on the exchanges? Taken the evens on Mullins and given threes on Elliott on say BetFair? Maybe doubled and trebled on Aintree and Punchestown?
I think Elliott has been stitched up-but that is not my point. My point is about the betting markets. How easily manipulable they are these days. There isn’t anything to stop a years old photo being leaked,and wrecking a sporting festival,destroy a whole year of the sport. There isn’t anything that stops someone giving a wee extra corner kick or yellow card either.
And in Scotland,there’s nothing that stops you from having a gambling problem and a season ticket for a certain club,then being awarded nearly a grandsworth of betting slips to referee your favourite club!
Football will eat itself? It’s serving itself up on a platter to the bookies.
Above article by BMCUWP