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Showing posts from August, 2009

wowser American judges kill off Delaware sports betting

So Delaware had a great idea to bring in legalised sports betting. After all, if Vegas is doing it, and other states like Oregon have it via a 'sports lottery', then why not Delaware? Particularly when the state is struggling with the recession like the rest of the world.

Well, the state government approved it, then the nosey sports leagues ganged up on them and got it shut down. It defies all logic. Legalised and licensed gambling enables sporting authorities to have a money trail, so they can detect any attempted corruption and fraud. If you leave it to the illegal bookies in bars and on street corners, the ones who they will never be able to get rid of, then there is no means of detection. It's all underground and grubby. Legalising one or two state-licensed venues, which would have been taxed enough to keep the margins no more attractive than the outlaws in the Caribbean or on the street corner, and you have an audit trail. It's not as if these firms are going to l…

US Open tennis previews

In case you haven't found the link from my Twitter updates, listed on the top right, here is where you can find my US Open previews from a betting perspective.

More often that not, I'll post links to the previews there so keep an eye on those comments and links. From the PuntingAce site, you'll also be able to check my previews of the last few years and decide for yourself if they're any good or not :)

La Liga season starts this weekend - a preview

After all the commotion about Ronaldo, Kaka, Alonso, Benzema and Ibrahimovic, the Spanish season is about to get underway.

Here's a look at the season ahead from Insidefutbol.com.

Let's hope all the money being pumped into it doesn't turn La Liga into a two-horse race, that just kills all the excitement very quickly....

sports betting market manipulation rears its ugly head

Hardly a surprise considering the size of the UK betting market...

Rafa and Ribery used in betting scam

How hard do you think it would be to set this up? Bookies and punters love jumping at shadows or following the money regardless. Sooner or later, it had to turn into a scam. This sort of thing is outlawed in the financial world but I reckon it would be nigh on impossible to ban in the sports betting world. These types of markets - Next Manager, Player Transfers - are completely fuelled by rumours. If bookies want to bet on them, then they're asking for trouble....

The 'high-rollers' involved in this must have been losing accounts the syndicate bought to maximise their return - have you ever tried getting a decent bet on these markets???

snooker players arrested on match-fixing allegations

About time something was done on this one. As posted here last year, something was very fishy with this match - people don't go out of their way to be betting on correct frame score unless something is up.

Duo detained by police

Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett have been detained by police looking into alleged irregular betting patterns during a UK Championship match.

Both were helping Strathclyde Police with their inquiries in connection with the outcome of the game in Telford on December 15 last year.

A Strathclyde Police spokesman said: "Our economic crime unit can confirm that two men, aged 28 and 33, have been detained and are assisting Strathclyde Police with their inquiries into the alleged irregular betting pattern associated with the snooker match involving Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett."

The first-round match, which was subject to investigations by World Snooker and the Gambling Commission, was won 9-3 by Maguire.


The problem is, with allegations like these, thi…

Racing NSW introduces radical new handicapping system

Racing in NSW, particularly in the city, has long been dogged by too many small fields and domination by big stables such as Gai Waterhouse and the former Ingham/Hawkes empire. This system, on first glance, appears to fix some of the shortfalls in the old system. Country horses will be better off when coming to town - i.e. weighted to have a chance rather just be making up the numbers.

New handicapping system for NSW racing to start October 1

I'm keen to see this in action. If they can implement what they are proposing, it could be the rocket up the proverbial .... that NSW racing needs to get back into a healthier state. Having city meetings with average field sizes of 6 or 7 does nothing to inspire punters.

BetonBet collapses

Another minor sportsbook, along with their partners EuroLinx and LinxCasino, goes belly up. Poor management, poor business plan... who knows? But punters once again get screwed. Stick to the bigger names and if you must play in the lesser-known books, use Moneybookers and Neteller to keep your balance down to a minimum.

LinxMedia Group bankrupt

BetOnBet was an odds aggregation bookmaker - meaning they used an odds comparison service to form their odds and simply sit in the middle all the time. And they still couldn't make a profit - or perhaps the losses from the rest of the business were too heavy. Just guessing, but they probably had to spend too much on marketing and promotions to get clients. Or they were just poorly managed. The sportsbook was relatively new compared to the poker and casino arms so chances are the other products and their marketing/bonus schemes led to their downfall.

more Russian skiers test positive for EPO

They're at it again. After three leading Russian biathletes were busted for it back in February, now it''s the turn of the cross-country skiers to cheat the system and get caught.

Three Russian skiers test positive for EPO

Two of the three athletes were Olympic gold medallists as well, and conveniently, they will both now retire - probably to a hero's farewell.

Winter sports need to take a hardline stance like weightlifting - multiple failed drug tests leads to that country being barred from major competitions. Until that happens, this ugly cycle will continue. And any athlete who tests positive to the more serious drugs, such as steroids and EPO, should all their previous achievements wiped from the record books.

The Ashes - so what went wrong?

Firstly, congratulations to England for winning back the Ashes. I still struggle to fathom how they did it, with most statistical measures pointing towards Australia, but at the end of the day, the book says 2-1 to England, and the rest is immaterial.

The Aussies:

Katich - averaged 42, scored one century, performed well at short leg with a couple of dismissals in the final Test which only a specialist could conjure. Far better this tour than last time and is the steady opener we need.

Hughes - such a talented kid, got found out early and got replaced by an allrounder who suddenly found a role. He'll be back soon enough after remedial work on his technique. He is too good to be lost to the team for long, but couldn't quite handle the pressure cooker of the Ashes so early in his career.

Watson - most bagged his selection but you can't bag his performance. Three 50s in five innings, average of 48, although it was disappointing he didn't convert any of those into a score highe…

Betfair to be legal in France?

According to this report from Egamingreview they are. The only problem is, the French government will drag the process out as long as they possibly can to protect their local monopolies, while making it look like they are complying with European Union directives.

Betfair get clearance from France ahead of liberalisation

Interesting comment at the bottom, with someone disputing whether France have even established their gaming regulatory authority yet...

UK press getting sucked in again over Betfair float talks

The financial sections of Sunday's papers got all excited about rumours of a Betfair float again.

Betfair considers £1.5bn flotation

The logic is all wrong. The company has been profitable every year since it began. Its cash reserves are huge and there would be little benefit in going to market. The company does however need an exit strategy for the next maturing staff share plan in October, and if and when Andrew Black decides to step away completely from the business, which is a possibility as he has little to do with the firm apart from board activity these days. A full-scale float in either of those cases is unlikely to be required. The other option would be if major investor Softbank wanted to bail out, but that's unlikely after just a couple of years, unless they have issues elsewhere. Or perhaps a listed company would look better to American authorities if the market there was opening up....

Betfair will float eventually. They have been reporting like a floated company and…

Betfair and TVG throw out a carrot for Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta

TVG-Betfair to add $400,000 to purse for Beldame Stakes if Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta race

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Two online wagering businesses are offering to add $400,000 to the purse of the Beldame Stakes, hoping to entice Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta into running against each other at Belmont Park.

The pledge announced Friday by TVG and Betfair Ltd. would create a $1 million purse for the Oct. 3 race if the two female stars are in the starting gate.

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With connections of Rachel Alexandra afraid to run on synthetic surfaces, the Breeders' Cup is out, so will the American racing public get to see the clash they are dying to see before these super female horses head to the breeding barn? We can only hope so....

Racing NSW's 'court win' is just a desperate grab for publicity

So Racing NSW was successful with the Federal Court in their demands to see some documents from Betfair, making it sound like Betfair had something to hide. Well, being a private company without the need to publish their accounts each year (which they do anyway), you could understand why they'd be reluctant to do so. After all, there are dozens of rival firms out there who would love to find out how it all worked so well. But Racing NSW's victory was rather hollow.

Clutching at Straws

What Racing NSW forgot to explain in its Bulletin, was that the discovery claim it was appealing against was one which asked for some 60,000 documents from Betfair, including material prepared well before its Race Fields legislation went to Parliament.

Justice Perram disallowed that request on the basis that he could not see how such an onerous burden should be imposed on Betfair.

The final request allowed by the Full Federal Court amounted to some 100 documents.

The order was only permitted because c…

World Athletics Championships

It's hard to top what happened in Berlin last night - how can you top a freak like Usain Bolt who can be so cheesy and relaxed moments before the race and then just blow everyone away?

It's women's 100m night tonight. Unfortunately, there's no hope of the women setting many world records any time soon as most of their records have been set by blatant drug cheats - the eastern bloc regime in the 80s and early 90s, or Flo Jo in the early 80s. The only woman to get anywhere near FloJo's times has been supposed freak athlete Marion Jones... and then it turned out she was on the juice as well. FloJo might never have tested positive, but neither did most of the East Germans - and when someone dies in their sleep of a heart attack at 38, and retires the day after out-of-competition drug testing was brought in... well, you make up your own mind. The only women's records which have gone in recent years have been in new events (steeplechase, pole vault), where the African…

PaddyPower to cash in on the "free" PR

Paddy Power decided to pay out on Tiger Woods winning the US PGA at the halfway stage. But nobody told Y.E.Yang about it. He played brilliantly under the pressure of playing in the last group with Tiger, and broke Woods' record of 14 majors won from leading/co-leading into the last round.

The PR stunt is estimated to cost the Irish bookmaker over £1 million, but the worldwide publicity they'll get out of it will more than make up for it, just like when local bookmaker Fred Done paid out early on Man Utd winning the title back in the late 90s. He got so much PR out of it, his local business is now a massive bookmaking firm with shops throughout the UK.

finally, a better Australian racing channel

TVN had tried it but with limited broadcast rights and loads of filler programmes. Sky have finally got their act together and looked towards a global racing channel, covering the best racing each day in Australia, then linking up with international meetings overnight.

Sky racing towards a new TV era

Sounds promising, but you always have to be wary of the implementation when Sky/TABCorp are involved...

Federer v Tsonga - what a match! 1.01 gubbed!

When Roger Federer leads 5-1 in the third set, up a double break, you are entitled to think he is home.

But then Tsonga fights back, takes the lead at 6-5, and has Federer 0-40 on his serve - three match points



A few of the money-buyers will have absolutely soiled themselves over this one.

It's currently 3-3 in the final set tie-break, I doubt there'll be any more 1.01 traded!

UPDATE - Tsonga wins the tie-break 7-3 and the match 7-6 1-6 7-6.

the rumours are true - Betfair & Barcelona

Betfair have opened their deep coffers and stepped into the non-English language market for this first time - at least at this level. As tipped on this site months ago, Betfair have signed as official betting partner with FC Barcelona according to this report:

FC Barcelona sign with Betfair

It's a big step up from the days of sponsoring Fulham at Loftus Rd (when Craven Cottage was supposed to be getting re-developed). Will it open up South America for them? It might help if they stop using misleading ads about their products.

TABCorp wins race fields fee challenge

Not sure exactly what this means - the fee structure gets overturned (how could it - surely they can't get Racing Victoria to change everyone else's fee structure?) or if it means the TABCorp's charge now changes to a significantly lower figure in line with everyone else? This could have ramifications...

Tabcorp successfully challenge Victoria race fields fee

We'll have to wait and see what Bill Saunders and the like have to say about it.

The Age has more on the story here

Tabcorp has $200m court win over racing fee

Does it all go back to the drawing board now?

Racing for Change - solution one

The image of racing.

Look at racing in the media and what do you get? A lot of old faces with little appeal to the younger generation or non-racing followers.

Case in point - John McCririck. Failed bookmaker, failed punter, know-it-all, sexist bigot and regularly tarnishing the image of the sport with his 'They knew' comments. All that does is add to the negative connotations of the industry from people that barely follow it. That racing is for old people. That racing is corrupt. That racing is an old boys club. How many people have a clue what he is doing when waving his arms about? How many under the age of 45? How many under the age of 30? What other industry would allow one of its frontmen to be so politically incorrect at a time where racing is desperate for a higher profile?

I'm not a fan of Matt Chapman but a lot of people are. He does have an opinion, he does come across well on camera and he is not on the wrong side of 50.

Hayley Turner looked good on camera during he…

Unibet doing very well out of international focus

Expanding outside the Nordic regions has worked well for Unibet, with over 50% of revenue coming from outside the Nordic countries for the first time.

Unibet overseas revenue tops 50%

Unibet now sponsor Valencia in Spain, FC Brugge in Belgium and Ferencvaros in Hungary, as well as their cycling team sponsorship (which I assume is still going). A gross win of £66.2m in half a year is very good, however without a retail shop market, I'd say their profit margin on that won't be that high compared to Paddy Power or Ladbrokes for example.

Racing for Change - good, bad or so-so?

Today's feature article in the Racing Post is all about the new project board charged with reinvigorating racing in Britain - Racing for Change. On the one hand, it is something the industry needs to drive it forward. On the other, it's a body full of chairmen and bigwigs who have had a big say in getting the industry where it is now.

Some of the proposals:

- Identifying key fixtures to clearly emphasise start and finish of premier Flat season

Doesn't the Lincoln at Doncaster, soon followed by the Craven meeting at Newmarket already mark the start of the season? The Champions Day meeting at Newmarket virtually finishes the season already.

- Create new showcase finale, to crown the champions of the Flat season

The likes of Ballydoyle and Godolphin control racing in Britain because they pick and choose where their horses run (and how those races are run) in order to create more commercial value for their breeding operations. The champions are unlikely to run a dozen times in the …

French football teams blocked by slow government reforms on betting laws

It's not just England, Australia, Spain and Italy with numerous teams wanting to wear betting company logos as their shirt sponsors this year. The French government had promised reform under the threat of sanctions from the EU, and they will... when they get around to it! Meanwhile Lyon, Marseille, Paris St-Germain and Bordeaux will be losing out financially while the government twiddles its thumbs....

Betting Sponsorship Row kicks off

Meanwhile Betfair have signed a deal as the betting partner for Man Utd. Peculiar deal that - no signage as yet, no logo on the website, it would have cost a packet and a huge percentage of United fans are in banned territories such as China and Thailand.

could NSW and Victoria finally merge pools?

Could it be? TABCorp has announced that pools for the Big6 - their poorer cousin of the UK's Scoop6 could have one pool operating by early next year.

BIG6 pools merger on the cards

About time - what's the point of having a jackpot pool if it's not the biggest you can possibly make it? It's a good move to do it, but they are still missing a trick. To get the most out of this bet type, they should package the six races up each week for free-to-air TV so it gets the maximum exposure possible.

So who actually does pay UK tax and levy from their online activity?

William Hill - soon to channel all online business through Gibraltar
Ladbrokes - soon to channel all online business through Gibraltar
BetFred - online business goes through Gibraltar
Stan James - all business goes through Gibraltar
Victor Chandler - all business goes through Gibraltar

Paddy Power - online business goes through the Isle of Man
Boylesports - online business goes through the Isle of Man
Blue Square - all business goes through Alderney
Sportingbet - all business goes through Alderney
SkyBet - all business goes through Alderney

Betfair - all non-UK and non-exchange business goes through Malta
Jennings - online business goes through Malta

Totesport - have no choice, they are an organization created by the UK government

Bet365 - online sports betting is licensed in the UK, other products through Malta

If I have any of these wrong, please feel free to contact me and clarify.


So the headlines are deservedly hard on Hills and Ladbrokes, but they're not Robinson Crusoe in this.

The firms w…

Ladbrokes head back to Gibraltar

No surprise here, if Hills decided to go, it was 1.03 that Ladbrokes would go too, despite the Magic Sign running a big 'Bet British' campaign within the last 12 months. The website only made £55m last year so they have to run off to Gibraltar and dodge tax and levy.

Ladbrokes.com to relocate to Gibraltar

I can't see myself ever working for a big company again, I'm too much of an idealist. If you've read my blog for a while, you'll be aware I'm currently studying an MBA. Corporate greed really shits me. If this was a case of remaining viable, then fair enough but it has nothing to do with it. Hills and Ladbrokes are deserting the UK for, in the words of that Nationwide ad, 'have more bubbly for the shareholders'.

They're not the only ones though...

Championship preview

It all kicks off tonight. Will Middlesbrough and Newcastle follow the likes of Charlton, Leeds and Southampton into a financial mess and League 1? Will Darren Ferguson be able to keep taking Peterborough up the English system? This is a quality league and those who have just fallen out of the Premier League will find it very tough to bounce straight back, particularly if the house isn't in order.

Soccerlens provide their Championship preview. More than half of these clubs have recent Premier League experience, Roy Keane takes over at Ipswich who will want to perform in the memory of Sir Bobby Robson, QPR have got bucketloads of cash... a great season lies ahead.

League One season preview

We're getting close to kick-off... This year League One sees Charlton, Norwich and Southampton, all Premiership clubs just five years ago, fighting it out amongst the likes of Brighton, MK Dons and the once-mighty Leeds.

Read the preview here from Soccerlens.com

Luxbet losing and ToteTas nears sale

Snippets from the Aus financial wires..

Tabcorp share assessment

Tabcorp's only NT wagering arm, Luxbet, set up to take on the likes of Centrebet and Sportsbet, isn't yet making money and the win rates aren't where they should be. But Luxbet has accrued 23,000 customers and Funke Kupper claims its brand recognition is up there with the likes of Centrebet.

Funke Kupper is taking a “fight them on the beaches” approach to customer retention, especially in wagering. “It's really important we stand in the market place,” he declares. “We will take people on, even though it's not necessarily cheap for us.”

The rumours were that Luxbet was set up with bottomless pockets in a concerted effort to take market share away from the likes of Centrebet, Sportingbet, Sportsbet, so that backs up the theory.


Tote Tasmania may sell for A$300m next month

Four companies -- Tabcorp Holdings Ltd., Tatts Group Ltd., U.K.-based Ladbrokes Plc and Greece’s Intralot SA -- are on the short-list to bu…

Perhaps Hills should learn how to hedge

If the big guys had stopped moaning about Betfair and worried more about balancing their books by heading at better prices, the financial market would be shedding less tears...

William Hill down on its luck

Profits at the company dropped to £91.5m in the six months to 30 June, down from £111.1m a year earlier, due in part to a poor performance in horse racing. It admitted that trading has been disappointing this month, and claimed to have lost money on every major horse race in recent months, with the exception of the Grand National.

Boohoo, only £91.5m profit.

A-League season preview

Not only do the lower English leagues kick off this weekend, but also the expanded Australian competition, the thoughtfully named A-League. These games are all streamed online via Betfair and a few other UK bookies, so it's time to swot up on the form.

FoxSports expert Simon Hill's A-League Preview

New club Gold Coast United look very strong with Jason Culina and the unsung, ex-Hartlepool striker Joel Porter up front. League 1 in England is about the same standard as this competition, he will score goals.

League Two season preview

Can Sven revive Notts County out of their long slump? Does Rotherham have the title in the bag after last season's great effort despite a 17pt penalty? Can Crewe bounce-back to League 1 at the first attempt? It's tough going down in League Two this year...

Soccerlens.com's League Two season preview is a handy guide to lower-league football, particularly if you like having a accumulator across all the leagues, and dream of the jackpot of picking the winner of each league.

Betfair profits soaring

This will please all the folks paying the premium charge...

Betfair set fair for a float

The odds shortened today on a flotation of Betfair after the world's largest betting exchange reported soaring revenues and profits.

In stark contrast to the falling business in the High Street bookmakers as witnessed yesterday by a profit warning from William Hill, Betfair today reported revenues of £303 million in the year to the end of April, up 27% year on year and double where they were three years ago.

Without seeing the annual report, I'm guessing a big chunk of those increased profits come from the casino. They certainly won't be coming from the dreadful poker application, and while the exchange continues to move forward, it is now very mature, although international volume continues to grow. Oh, and of course, there was a major football tournament (Euro 2008) last year which always helps.

A float has always been on the cards, it has just been a matter of when. They will wait patien…

Blue Square Premier season preview

This weekend ahead is the one I look forward to most in football - the expectation of are those recruits any good or a complete waste of money? Which team has flown under the radar and which manager just doesn't have a bloody clue? And the Football Leagues rathe than the Premier League hold much more excitement for me, far fewer overpaid diving prats..

Soccerlens.com is posting a series of season previews for all the leagues this week, here's the first for the old Conference, the Blue Square Premier League which we won't see on TV this season due to the demise of Setanta Sports.

I follow this league with some interest, being a member of the fans conglomerate which is Ebbsfleet FC - it could be a long season ahead.

William Hill heading offshore

It will be announced today that internet operations of one of Britain's biggest bookmakers are being switched to Gibraltar in a measure to reduce tax paid from their financial statements. This will not go down well with the UK government who will lose out on a lot of tax revenue, nor the British racing industry which may suffer a significant reduction in levy payments. And if Hills go, will Ladbrokes do the same? Or Coral, or Betfair....?

Odds shorten on William Hill move offshore

Looks like a rather big loaded gun is being pointed at the Chancellor demanding change in taxation rates...

Victor Chandler enters the world of team sponsorship

Missed this announcement two weeks ago, Victor Chandler have become shirt sponsors of Nottingham Forest in the Championship. Good to see them supporting the sport desptie being based in Gibraltar, reminding us that it's not all about the Premier League.

Forest announce Victor Chandler deal

That makes a lot of bookmakers sponsoring football these days. Austrian minnow bet-at-home.com sponsored the Emirates Cup at Arsenal over the weekend, doubt they could afford anything during the season!

Racing NSW rhetoric completely ignores the key participant

Racing NSW are at it again, whipping up hysteria over the real world having changed from those wonderful old days when their mates in government could ban any rivals to their monopoly. Chairman Alan Brown addressed a meeting last Friday about concerns over the funding of racing in NSW. You can read his address here. He babbles on about paying for racing, how the corporate bookies and Betfair have changed things around etc... not once does he mention that the monopoly he is trying to support is now a privatised company working first and foremost for its shareholders. Not once does he mention that perhaps its time the punter got a fairer deal instead of being constantly shafted by that monopoly for the best part of a generation.

The world has changed. Margins for EVERY business and industry in the world have tightened. Monopolies are being outlawed by governments worldwide. Organisations who waste millions on ridiculous legal fees or because they are too stubborn to merge for the improve…