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Showing posts from March, 2009

shrewd advice

There's a great programme running on repeat this week on Racing UK, aptly titled "The Form Programme". Great debate and discussion between Steve Mellish, Jsmes Willoughby and Angus McNae. Well worth a look, lots of great advice and rational thinking about the details of betting on horse racing. Even if you don't bet on racing, there will be something in it you can learn to improve your punting.

You've got to have respect for this bloke

American Taylor Dent has made a comeback to tennis this year and faces Roger Federer tomorrow in the fourth round at the Miami Masters Series. Dent has returned from major back surgery, something that 99.9% of people would have retired from. From the Times ... It is difficult to put into words the courage shown by Taylor Dent, who will be 28 next month and has qualified for the Sony Ericsson Open, where he will be Roger Federer's fourth round opposition. Let him take up the story of his absence from the sport from March 2007, and how he had his sights sets on becoming either a commentator or a coach because he did not know if he would ever play again. He suffered from an injury called spondylolisthesis. He tells The Net Post: "That's the technical name for it, but in layman's terms, my last vertebrae, the L-5, was broken on both sides. It was a bilateral pars fracture. The first surgery was to try and put this bone growth compound over the fractures and hope that it me

Leading Melbourne bookmaker calls it quits

With a disqualification or suspension imminent, one of Melbourne's leading rails bookmakers, Simon Beasley has called it quits. Embattled bookmakers calls it quits A shame, he and his team of staff brought a lot of life to the track and off-course festivities at racing carnivals, but when you break the rules....

British bookies heading offshore again?

Yesterday's Racing Post had a two-page spread about how British bookmakers are handling the economic downturn, in particular, if they are looking to minimise tax and levy by heading abroad. Naturally they can't move their shops abroad, but other functions such as internet and sportsbook operations could head to Gibraltar or other territories with much lower tax burdens. - BetFred recently transferred its internet sportsbook to Gibraltar, where it already based its casino operation. - Victor Chandler has been in Gibraltar for a decade and hasn't changed. - Stan James recently shut down a UK call centre and transferred operations to Gibraltar, where much of their business had operated before the abolition of betting duty. - Betfair have had major operations in Malta for several years, and all exchange bets placed by non-UK and non-Aus/NZ residents are processed via those servers, as well as multiple bets and all poker, casino and gaming transactions. - Hills and Corals are no

wow, innovative... what next - computers?

Americans will make anything sound like they thought of it first. You could do this online a decade ago on many sports and with on-course bookmakers in Aus, 20 yrs ago on AFL football. These days, any bookie that doesn't offer it (unless restricted by stupid laws, eg Aus Interactive Gaming Act) is wasting their time. Betting on the fly premiers at M Resort 23 March 2009 LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- For avid sports bettors, it might be the greatest advancement in wagering since the advent of the drive-thru sports book. Unveiled over the weekend at M Resort is the first "in-running" sports betting, which allows bettors to wager on the action as it happens. No more needing to wait for the second-half total in a particular game. Hedging can happen on the fly. Watch your fortunes rise and fall with every change of the possession arrow.... More evidence that Vegas is nothing more than a tourist trap and a waste of time as a betting venue.

AFL betting - where it all began

Sports betting in Australia has changed enormously over the years. It was only 20 years ago when you could first bet on Aussie Rules (AFL) legally, now it's huge. Pioneering bookies reflect as punting on footy turns 20 "We've gone from those first four bookies in Melbourne to now 35 online betting shops around Australia betting on AFL," he said. "You can throw in another 40 overseas betting shops as well." That equates to huge money. "Back in 1993 footy betting turnover through legal channels was $3 million. This year I'm sure it will top $1 billion. Big business, and best of all for expats like myself, there are three games per week live on Setanta in the UK.

rednecks running racing - not a good idea

No, it's not southern USA, it's northern Queensland. Race club officials suspended for drinking on the job Dear oh dear. You might have got away with this in the 70s but ... then again, north Queensland is a wee bit behind the times!

senior Racing Post writer leaves with a scathing blast for the paper

It's not hard to see the Racing Post has changed in recent years - sales are down as much as 40% in four years, Betfair scrapped their £1m+ annual advertising deal with them after they refused to cut the price despite flagging sales figures, and it's virtually a bookies' mouthpiece with very little criticism in there. The punter wants independence of thought, not just well-scripted material from bookie headquarters. Writer Paul Haigh blasts Racing Post in resignation letter Fair play to him for having principles. What's the point of being a journalist if you can't have integrity. But from the Racing Post side of it, what else are they to do? 90% plus of their ad revenues will come from bookmakers and exchanges, and understandably, they won't want to be advertising in a rag which is critical of them. But a line has to be drawn somewhere. There are certain journos out there whom you know have just added their name to the top of a press release (eg Rod Nicholson in

how to start a riot - change commission structure at an exchange

North American betting exchange Matchbook will be fairly anonymous unless you bet on US sports regularly. This week they've announced changes to their commission structure, switching from the commission on winnings model which everyone else operates to a fees per trade structure. Funnily enough, that hasn't been popular with punters - the SBR forum thread has gone ten pages so far, and doesn't look like stopping anytime soon. The question is - is this Matchbook trying to stimulate business or trying to stay profitable? By charging market makers less than market takers (people accepting offers), this encourages people to post odds and make the markets more competitive rather than just suck up liquidity. But the fee-per-trade option kills off the trader who bets again and again in-running, as I love to do. Staying profitable though is another consideration. Betfair's annual reports shows they make nearly 25% of profits from the interest on client deposits. With the fina

no racing at Great Leighs anytime soon

This is not a good sign for what could have become one of the top flight tracks in the UK. Less than a year after opening, Great Leighs had to stop racing because they'd run out of cash. Two months have passed and little has happened in saving the course. In fact now, they are asking the bank for help - a bank which has been heavily bailed out by the UK govt! Great Leighs Administrator turns to RBS for help Missing Great Leighs over the summer won't make much difference but once the flat season winds down, its proximity to Newmarket was its greatest asset. But, like any business, if you don't have the finances sorted, you are in trouble if the economy changes.

the crook is dismissed

Following on from this article last week, SAJC chief executive Steve Ploubidis has been dismissed over the vote-rigging scandal. Apparently he won't get a payout which shows why racing and betting is far better regulated than the financial industry! Corruption claims key SA Jockey Club figures Time for South Australian racing to turn over a new leaf and repair the damage done by this bloke and the last few governments which have abandoned racing in the state.

WA TAB to stick with TABCorp pools

A few weeks ago TABCorp, who run the NSW and Victorian totalisators announced they were kicking the small fish out of the shared pools, namely WA, Tasmania and the ACT. Another part of the deal was also removing the sports betting arm as well which supplied prices to all state TABs throughout the land. Western Australia, the biggest state of that trio, has now renegotiated to stay in the pooled totalisator with Victoria (apparently it's too hard for them to link NSW and Victoria - anyone would think it's like the trains in the early 1900s, the tracks in one state were six inches further apart than the other, so you had to switch trains at the border to get from Sydney to Melbourne!). However it will come at a cost to WA racing. Tabcorp agreement comes at a cost for WA racing To be fair, that's not greed from TABCorp, just the simple reality that WA is a mass importer of racing product (far more bet on other states by WA residents than what is bet on WA racing by the rest of

new F1 season looks exciting for betting

I must admit, I'm a bit of a petrolhead. Go back to 2000-2, I was heavily into betting on Formula 1, particularly head-to-heads. However, the constant rule changes which made driver ability a very small part of the equation eventually turned me off it. This season though, I could be right back into it. For full details on rule changes, read this In summary, slick tyres are back, aerodynamics are significantly different to reduce reliance on downforce and make wheel-to-wheel racing easier, engines now have to last three races and in-season testing is heavily restricted. Just look at how different the McLaren car looks, the wings are a big change from previous years, front and back. New team, Brawn GP, formerly Honda, set the testing tracks alight last week, to such an extent that PaddyPower made Jenson Button favourite for the Drivers Championship! I had to check it wasn't April 1st... The away races in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain often tell a different story to the

poor old V'Landys can't even find sympathy from Patrick Smith

Peter V'Landys, CEO of RacingNSW, is trying even harder to make himself look like a fool this week, making a desperate plea for funds collected from bookmakers and exchanges by a fee which is being opposed in court and in all probability will go against RacingNSW. So now he wants to use the money, but also makes the firms in question sign away their rights to getting the money back (if and) when they win the court case. Seriously, this bloke is up there where the heads of the financial world for not having the slightest grip on reality. V'Landysman wants the money Patrick Smith is a very opinionated Australian columnist who I rarely seem to agree with. But this time, he's taking a shot at a man completely worthy of ridicule. Bravo.

Australian racing has to change with the times

I don't see the problem with this, so long as it's done properly. Times have changed, animal welfare, health and safety and the environment are all important daily issues, and there is no reason why racing should be exempt. Making these changes now gives them a leg to stand on against animal activists and other protesters who go a step too far in their demands. Not sure what the rules are in North America, but certainly in the UK & Ireland, use of the whip is restricted. The horse must be given a chance to respond to the whip before it is struck again. Jockeys say new whip rules will change race results If they want to moan about it, how about presenting some facts with how many race results would have actually changed. People resist change - that's life, but without any facts, it's jsut the typical doomsday prediction from those it affects. It will get rid of bad jockeys who have no skill other than belting the bejesus out of a horse with the whip. And that's n

my tipping columns

I've got a couple of tipping columns being published at the moment, so follow these at your peril :) Rugby League WTA tennis

more tote competition in Australia??

Good luck with this one, I just can't see it working. Typhoon Pools set to storm TABs Without a massive marketing budget, these guys can't win. They might have lots of handy new features, but ultimately, the Aussie totes work because they cater for Aussies who bet cash and can access them whenever they like. Multi-currency, big fields, sports (!) are useless features unless the world gets involved. Tote sports betting is a mindless idea - who is going to bet on a two-horse race without knowing the price they are getting? Good luck for taking on the big boys but they need bottomless pockets for the marketing to even make a blip on the radar.

A crook will try everything to save his bacon

No wonder racing in South Australia has been going backwards for years. A man with no clue in charge of racing, having famously said to a SAJC member friend of mine "we make more money from a can of Coke than we do from a $5 bet". To which the obvious response was given "yeah, but how many cans of Coke can one person have in a day???" Political wrangling has ruined racing in SA for years, the board was under pressure from members who had had enough, and he got caught rigging the votes. But of course, it never happened, it's all a big stitch-up and he wants to keep his plum job. South Australian Jockey Club chief Steve Ploubidis facing the sack Racing chief Steve Ploubidis insists he won't quit the SAJC No honour, no standing down during an investigation, just denying everything, closing ranks and sending SA racing further down the toilet... Sad, sad, sad.

it pays to know running styles

Knowing which horses lead, which horse swoop home late and which horses are just plain hard work for the jockey can make a big difference to trading in-running. Wichita Lineman is infamous for his running style, he can only win with a jockey like AP McCoy aboard, a jockey who keeps on pushing him hard. A novice jockey would be hopeless on this horse, he is extremely hard work, but when he gets going, then he flies home and wins, like he did today. The third-placed horse Nenuphar Collonges is quite similar, looks to be tired and going backwards, then he fights back and makes a race of it. Maljimar pipped at 1.05, Wichita Lineman matched as high as 60. Did I back him? No, I'm a layer in-running, but I did managed to lay 1.1 on the runner-up. Every little snippet of information who can store away for the future is valuable.

Cheltenham - bring it on!!

The economy is cactus but Cheltenham brightens it up for everyone. All this talk in the press about bankers.. doesn't the world hate bankers with a vengeance at the moment?? Five hours of rain forecast tonight for Cheltenham... makes it very tough to finalise selections the night before. Paddy Power have a great offer in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle - all losing bets (win and each-way) refunded if Cousin Vinny wins the race. I thought he was a bit of a risk in that, so I'll be making use of that offer. I'll be betting around the favourites in the Arkle - Tatenen and Calgary Bay. I think they are unders and the form of the opposition doesn't suggest a gap between any of them. More to come later.

nice try Peter but not even the dumbest of courts will fall for this

Faced with a court case about anti-competitive policy, Racing NSW, led by head muppet Peter V'Landys, is now trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes by saying the 1.5% charge on turnover for NSW racefields will apply to all operators, including TABCorp, not just the bookies and Betfair. TABCorp already pay three times that as part of their distribution, there is no way that will stick. SMH article - Tabcorp bristles at impost It's just a blatant attempt to mislead the court into thinking the fee isn't discriminatory. No wonder NSW racing is struggling when they piss money up against walls by employing fools with massive egos like V'Landys and Richard Freedman. Here's Bill Saunders' view on the case as a reminder.

new owners for Expekt and bet-at-home

From the PR wires: MANGAS GAMING, French leading group in online gaming and sports betting, which operates Betclic, active in France and Southern Europe, announces the two following transactions: - The acquisition of all the operations of Expekt, a major online sports betting company, addressing primarily the Scandinavian and Northern European markets. Expekt is also a major player in online poker. - The acquisition of a controlling stake in Bet-at-home from its founders. Bet-at-home, a Frankfurt listed company, is an online betting and gaming operator mainly present in Central and Eastern Europe. A public offer will be launched shortly to acquire the shares held by Bet-at-Home's minority shareholders. Both transactions benefit from the full support of the management of the acquired companies. With these acquisitions, MANGAS GAMING, enters the top 5 online sports betting operators in Europe, with gross gaming revenues amounting

ever thought life would be easy as a bookie?

It's the age-old problem of business. If you're not prepared to give credit, then your business can't grow. But who is a good risk and who is a bad one? This guy was a massive punter, but it's not the gambling which has sent him to the wall, those debts are relatively minor compared to his others. Former Billabong chief leaves trail of gambling debts The bookies involved are big enough to absorb the loss, but like any chunky bad debt, it will hurt their profits. Never get in too deep, otherwise the house of cards can come crashing down....

this is why it's a good idea for racecourses to be industry-owned and betting firms to be independent

Magna Entertainment, owner of Golden Gate and Santa Anita racecourses, and Expressbet pari-mutuel wagering on those tracks is about to file for bankruptcy. Read this article from The Paulick Report So two of the USA's best racecourses are about to go broke. You'd think there's a buyer out there somewhere for them. But what about all the debts for prizemoney etc to owners, trainers, jockeys? Most of them are really struggling at the moment, they need this like a hole in the head, particularly with the US-style of racing where they stick to one track (at least for several weeks or months at a time) rather than race all over the state or country. Great Leighs going tits up in the UK is totally different - payments are centralised and jockeys and trainers run all over the UK. On top of this, Expressbet holds hundres of thousands, probably millions of funds in betting accounts from their gamblers. There is no regulatory system in the States where the company has to put up a huge

and bringing up the rear is South Australia, as per usual

Not really sure what any betting company has to gain by this, after all, the interestate advertising restrictions for bookmakers proved to be indefensible in court by the Victorian and NSW govts. But, it's probably worth doing the right thing in order to keep the locals sweet, get some publicity and kick on from there. Off and racing to register for betting in SA The interstate TABs have jumped in; the gentlemen's agreement is well and truly dead in the water. Betfair are there as well and I'd expect other firms to include Centrebet, Luxbet, Sportingbet and IAS. And just to show how out-of-touch with the rest of the world South Australia are, they have to do a special investigation into Betfair because laying horses is obviously evil. Yes it really is 1983 down there....

Centrebet land the Geelong Cup

Another key race sponsorship in Victoria goes to a bookmaker - this time the Geelong Cup, last year won by British raider, Bauer. Geelong up lands new sponsor And how is sponsorship going in other states? Poorly, as state governments and racing bodies still have their heads in the sand...

Bettorlogic signs up with SportRadar

If you don't know much about these two companies, then you've probably only been a customer of bookmakers rather than work for them. BettorLogic is a rather sophisticated database of sporting stats, predominantly football, but they do cover other sports (rugby, golf, cricket, tennis) from time-to-time. The FormLabs product is brilliant - you can run queries such as "how does this team go when 0-1 at home after 63 minutes against teams in the bottom 6?" etc - but the layout is quite daunting the first few times you use it. SportRadar (also known as BetRadar) supply a service to bookmakers which alerts them if they list a game with the incorrect start time, or the odds move in a big way etc. Very useful in this era when bookies cover sport around the globe, most of which they will never ever see on TV. This week at the BetMarkets conference in Vienna, a partnership between the two companies was announced. Read the article from RecentPoker Very interesting to note that

Gala Coral is 'worthless' according to equity firm investor

That can't be good to hear when you've pumped £5 billion into a business. "Gala Coral was formed by a merger between Gala and Coral Eurobet in 2005, but its component parts have been through a series of private equity owners in the past decade. The company has £4.4 billion of debt, including shareholder loans of £1.6 billion, but is operating within its banking covenants." "Gala Coral, which employs 19,000 people and operates 1,566 Coral betting shops, 165 bingo halls and 31 casinos, has struggled since the double whammy in 2007 of the smoking ban and the scrapping of lucrative high-payout gaming machines." Read the Times article here . The betting shop real estate is probably the most valuable thing in the portfolio so it's not as if the bookie itself will go bust. If push came to shove, someone would buy it. But when a corporation is over four billion pounds in debt, things can go pear-shaped very quickly...

Centrebet drop takeover bid for IAS

No surprise after the Takeover Review Panel ruled against them breaking the conditions of a standstill agreement. Bets off at Centrebet Will it stop Centrebet's expansion ambitions? I doubt it. Bit I doubt there is any other Australian firm big enough to have any value acquiring. Perhaps they have to head to the UK or the Caribbean? Will it mean IAS gets sold at a price closer to the unrealistic valuation Mark Read and his board have in mind? I doubt that very much too.... Have a bet with these bookies: Sign up for your free $100 bet with IAS today £25 Free Bet at Centrebet

Tabcorp take naming rights for the 'Bool carnival but Grafton gets shafted

Warrnambool has to be one of the best racing carnivals (festivals for UK punters) in the world. About three hours south-west of Melbourne, the city of about 30,000 people more than doubles in size for three days of racing. It's also Australia's best mix of jumps and flat racing with the Grand Annual Steeplechase and the Galleywood Hurdle providing the spectacle with the Wangoom Handicap (feature sprint) and the Warrnambool Cup the flat features. May Racing carnival cashed-up As the battle for sponsors gets tougher in the current economic climate, betting firms have been stepping in since the archaic and restrictive sponsorship laws were rescinded. This time it is Tabcorp and Luxbet putting their name up in lights. Meanwhile in NSW, the Grafton carnival. another great country race week, is missing a sponsor for the Ramornie Handicap. But no bookmaker can step in because of a trade restrictive agreement between Racing NSW and Tabcorp. CRJC facing Ramornie crisis Let's see if

The world of cricket will never be the same

All the concerns from Australia, England and other nations proved justified - Pakistan is not a safe place for foreigners, particularly professional sportsmen. Pakistan, such a talented cricket nation, have been out of the Test arena for over a year before this series against Sri Lanka, the one close neighbour who thought they would have no trouble with security. But even that proved too much of gamble this morning as terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus as they arrived for the third day of the Test match in Lahore. Thankfully, none of the injuries to the five players hit by gunfire are reported to be serious. India had its troubles in Mumbai but that was a political attack rather than anything involving sport. Pakistan is now on the outer, I can't see any international matches being played there for a long time. If they are able to 'host' matches in the near future, then Dubai, England or Sharjah are possible venues. This could be a watershed moment for the ICC. It&

TABCorp computer system shows its age once again

Most years it breaks down on Melbourne Cup day. Then the website collapses under pressure on most busy Saturdays. Occasionally you get some obscure race in Dubai or abroad not being switched off at the correct time. But this one takes the cake. The system froze, but let punters still get on, particularly on races which had already finished. A punter's dream Despite the fact all these river bottom-dwellers decided to lump on results which had already been decided, they were always going to be cancelled. You can soon sort out the integrity of an individual when this type of thing pops up occasionally.

money-buyers burnt at Villa Park

Aston Villa, fourth on the Premier League table, leading 2-0 with five minutes to go against relegation candidate and poor travellers Stoke. Easy money at 1.01? Think again. Stoke hit back with two late goals and the money buyers were shafted! 51k matched at that price, plus amounts at long odds-on in correct score, under 2.5 goals and under 3.5 goals. Money-buying gets you nowhere, just ask all those out-of-work bankers! You're much better off trading a couple of ticks on a dropping price like under 2.5 goals or the draw while it's level. At least if it does go against you, you have a chance to get out (unless there were already two goals in the 2.5 goal market). Always consider the upside & downside....