Sunday, 29 August 2010
The evidence is pretty damning now. I'd be really pissed off if I was boss of a ground about to host a T20 or an ODI in the next couple of weeks. Ticket sales are going to be screwed unless they are already sold. All that effort going into securing an international match, hoping for it to fill the coffers and keep the business ticking over - all gone now.
The spot-fixing events in the Lord's Test are alleged to have been a precursor to bigger fixes, most likely a thrown game in the ODIs. The no-balls were used to show the 'fixer' had the players in his pocket and they were able to be bought.
This is where it will get political, as can only happen with the ICC. The traditional nations will scream outrage and want the players banned for life. The Asian nations will work together and only want to hand down pitifully meagre penalties, so as not to lose power (i.e. votes) at the board table.
If as alleged, the captain Salman Butt is involved, there is a genuine case for kicking Pakistan out of international cricket. I believe that would make it three Pakistan captains caught for their involvement in illegal gambling, and that's not including the many others who have been accused, with or without any more evidence than hearsay. For a brand new captain to be involved in it shows the whole system is corrupt.
Pakistan haven't done themselves any favours in this whole saga. Their national cricket administration system is a farce, the world has been prepared to give them some leniency as they play without a home ground as a result of terrorist attacks, and even more so with the recent floods affecting an area bigger than England. But any sympathy they have been shown will now disappear faster than a politician's pre-election pledge...
One question as more evidence comes to light and people are being arrested for their involvement. How can Scotland Yard charge someone with 'conspiracy to defraud bookmakers' when none of the bets affected (so far) have involved legal bookmakers, only black market ones in India? Surely there is no legal protection for illegal entities?
Saturday, 28 August 2010
But is it as clear-cut as it seems? For me, it sounds too perfect. Pakistan are easy targets - they don't have a great reputation for integrity, and linking it to illegal bookmakers on the sub-continent is the perfect modus operandi as they have no licence or audit trail. People say that millions get bet on this stuff, despite all sorts of previous allegations about these markets, but there's nowhere to prove it is true or not. Was the evidence shown to anyone before the event, or did it only emerge conveniently after it?
I just find it very hard to trust anything that comes out of the News of the World, and destroying the reputation of one outstanding young bowler to increase flagging newspaper sales I do not find beyond them. Their modus operandi of catching dodgy characters (Sven-Goran Eriksson, John Higgins etc) isn't exactly a secret.
There may be more evidence to show for it and back the allegations up. How bad were the other no-balls from Amir and Asif? Is there any proof that this meeting with the fixer was actually before the events in question took place? There doesn't seem to be any footage of the players involved in this, unlike the Higgins snooker case.
IF the story is genuine, then fair play to the NotW for flushing it out.... I just think it's a bit too well put together...
Match-fixer pockets £150k as he rigs England Test at Lord's
THE News of the World has smashed a multi-million pound cricket match-fixing ring which RIGGED the current Lord's Test between England and Pakistan.
In the most sensational sporting scandal ever, bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif delivered THREE blatant no-balls to order.
Their London-based fixer Mazhar Majeed, who let us in on the betting scam for £150,000, crowed "this is no coincidence" before the bent duo made duff deliveries at PRECISELY the moments promised to our reporter.
Friday, 27 August 2010
Montgomerie 'on guard' to ensure no Ryder Cup betting coup
Gambling fears prompts Europe captain to be wary of telling wildcard contenders decision ahead of announcement.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Note the name of the spokeperson quoted below....
Online gambling banned in South Africa
It is now illegal to gamble using digital products in South Africa, the Gauteng Gambling Board said after a Friday court ruling.
The judgement on the jurisdiction of online gambling transactions in the country was handed down by the North Gauteng High Court on August 20.
This means that online gambling operators in South Africa and players will be in contravention of the law, and according to Business Day, could face a fine of R10-million or 10 years in jail, or both.
According to the Gauteng Gambling Board's head of legal services, Lucky Lukhwareni, online casinos are now liable for prosecution.
How could anyone take a person named Lucky seriously, especially if they worked in gambling regulation??
Other reports (EGR) have stated that the ban refers to all forms of online gambling, but that would be even more ridiculous considering the sports betting licences they have awarded lately. Bans for online casinos had been rumoured earlier in the year so this comes as no great surprise.
Does it protect local residents? Not at all, it's not exactly difficult to find an online casino wherever you are in the world, although transferring South African rand outside of the country is often complicated.
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
48hrs gives punters and bookmakers time to do the form properly, rather than just a mad rush on race morning. The Racing Post published historical letters of complaint from when the rule went from 48 to 24hrs a few decades ago - people complained then too!
Also in today's Racing Post, on the same page in fact was a piece about how some trainers have been abusing self-certification (being able to declare a horse unfit themselves rather than paying for a vet) and how the BHA is trying to crack down on it. This is a significant factor which clouds any data about 48hr decs and the number of non-runners.
In my opinion, the biggest problem with 48hr decs is that it doesn't go far enough. It's like having a player draft but not having a salary cap - you must have other rules in place to go with it, namely a withdrawal deadline on race morning. I find it ridiculous that trainers can pull their horses out at any time, particularly because they 'have to inspect the ground'. That's the clerk of the course's job, once the official going is announced, that should be end of story.
The Australian system of a scratching deadline of 8.30am, with later withdrawals only permitted on the basis of change in the official going or a vet's certificate, works perfectly well. Everyone knows a deadline is in place; trainers, bookies, punters, jockeys etc, so markets and bets can be adjusted, you can change your travel plans if the horse you were going to watch is out etc. If owners/trainers want to pull out at that stage, no penalty (other than loss of any entry fee). Make the non-runners list available to all online immediately after the deadline.
I'd even go one step further, stretching declarations to 72hrs for Group I races. The field for the $1m Golden Rose in Sydney this weekend was declared on Tuesday. Plenty of time for exposure, promotion, form study etc. Sure there will be scratchings if the weather turns - but that would happen at 24 and 48hr deadlines as well...
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
Friday, 20 August 2010
Women's US Open market, as shown on Oddschecker. Someone has taken the bigger prices on Li Na, crunching her down to 3.55, showing no depth in the market behind the 55-70 odds taken. Amazingly, Betdaq and WBX can only offer such a ridiculous price as well..... what a coincidence!
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Cheers to Mark Davies for pointing this story out.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Betfair set to launch new ads
According to online wagering firm Betfair's marketing team the latest advertising campaign is the largest the company has ever launched. Due to hit the airwaves in late August the advertising spots will run across the United Kingdom and Europe with the intent being to increase the customer base of three million that Betfair claims. A social media online advance will also be part of the globally comprehensive advert package. Created by Albion the campaign is directed at consumers who are encouraged to 'cut out the middle man'.
Jason Goodman, Albion London's chief executive officer, commented, "The betting industry is extremely competitive but Betfair's peer-to-peer exchange model makes the brand unique. It's this factor that Albion wanted to bring to life. Goodman went on to say, "In encouraging punters to 'cut out the middleman', this campaign uses the vernacular of modern, intermediating businesses that have thrived in the digital age by allowing their customers to go 'direct'.
Has the peer-to-peer message runs its course? The likes of BetFred and Paddy Power thrive by offering bonuses and specials that betting exchanges can't match because of the margins involved. Boylesports and Paddy Power both refunded bets on Dustin Johnson last weekend in the US PGA after the conversial ruling which cost him a spot in the playoff, exchanges can't do it as the layers certainly aren't going to refund it for them. That's the biggest challenge for the likes of Betfair as they fight with every other firm for the elusive recreational punters.
The television spots dramatise how a middleman or traditional bookmaker just is in the way which doesn't add anything to the wagering experience but annoyance. Scheduled for airing during sporting programmes and on channels such as Sky Sports, ESPN, Champions League football on ITV the Channel 4 Racing, and the Ryder Cup.
So I've gone through my blogroll, added a few new ones and cleaned out many of the stagnant ones. A message to those I have kept on - keep on posting, or you'll get dropped off as well! :)
Monday, 16 August 2010
You can view the replay here on the AtTheRaces site, free membership required.
It's brainless actions like this which rob punters blind with no apology from Horse Racing Ireland that make you wonder how they can justify asking bookmakers to pay more to funds Irish racing. It certainly isn't going to encourage punters to bet on racing in Ireland when they get shafted like this.
IG Group to sell Extrabet
Financial spread betting business IG Group has recruited accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers to find a buyer for its sports betting arm Extrabet, media reports at the weekend have suggested.
Extrabet accounts for an estimated 2% of IG Group’s overall revenues, however the business values the division at around £20m, the Sunday Times reported.
Analysts have previously questioned whether the business, which suffered a fall in revenue of more than 30% last year, is worth much. IG Group and PwC both declined to comment.
I'd have to agree with the last comment. Extrabet's client list is common with the spread side of the business, and one has to wonder how many genuine fixed-odds punters there are, rather than occasional dabblers. Extrabet's sports prices are all powered by the powerful IG spread models, so removing the company from that would mean they'd have to start again, thus making the software redundant. So what is left of any value at all?
SportingIndex sold its fixed-odds sports section SportingOdds to Sportingbet several years ago, when the industry was less competitive and the financial markets more buoyant. It's not overly difficult to get a licence in the UK, so that rules out the advantage of a foreign firm buying the company in order to bypass the hassle of a drawn-out licence application.
£20m? To quote the classic Australian film The Castle, "Tell 'im he's dreaming!"
GET YOUR KICKS
IMAGINE you have a spare $100,000 and you are sitting at home on a Saturday night, bored with the world.
So to add a little spice you decide to give the $100,000 a bit of a run around.
That's exactly what a Sportingbet Australia punter did when Port Adelaide kicked the opening goal of the final quarter against West Coast to go four goals up in a low-scoring affair.
Taking odds of $1.01, he risked $100,000 to win $1000, all good if Port continued to dominate the match.
But with a minute to go the Eagles had levelled the scores and were in attack until a David Rodan point got the Power home.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
NSW players under the whip and still looking for clear running
There it was, in the last paragraph of Tabcorp's full-year results flyer sent out on Thursday. Overall, the figures don't look good for the NSW racing industry. The push for a deregulated betting market must surely be stepped up.
The paragraph in the Tabcorp release mentions the impending arrival of ''cartoon racing'', which is about to hit NSW TAB outlets, but that wasn't the eye-catching remark.
No, this one is all to do with fixed-odds betting. Or as is the case in these parts, the lack of it. It is farcical.
''In NSW, the wagering business performed well considering that it did not have access to some of the products that are available to consumers in Victoria, such as Trackside and Fixed-Odds betting in the retail network …''
For the betterment of all concerned, Tabcorp should be inserting a rocket in the relevant NSW government regulatory department.
Betting in NSW is under siege but the players - the TAB and on-course bookmakers - are playing with arms firmly bound behind their backs.
This column has long argued for an open and level playing field. What is good for one is good for all. Why hamstring the locals with antiquated betting restrictions? The fence erected around the state to protect NSW racing's income streams is driving out punters, not keeping them in.
The NSW govt and Racing NSW are completely ignorant of what punters want, and how modernisation can improve the industry for everyone. Punters have worked out they get far better choice by going online, so now the betting operators who have stayed loyal to NSW and not moved to Darwin are being penalised by a department of numpties who still wear brown suits and drive Kingswoods...ra
I love Next Manager markets on Betfair, the fluctuations are all based on hearsay and rumours, so the moves can be quite volatile, which is also due to limited liquidity available too. Let's look at some of the logic behind the key men in the market:
Sven-Goran Eriksson: High 13, Low 2.0, current 3.0
One of the biggest media tarts there is, throws his hat in the ring every time a job comes up which might pay plenty. Did a decent job at Man City, but since then has been more of a comedy act. Still, it would be funny to give more ammunition to the funny people behind Special1TV.
Bob Bradley: High 15, Low 4.0, Current 6.6
He's American, the owner's American, so therefore he must want him for the job... Can't see it personally, would be a huge step up from anything he has done in the past, and I could only see it devaluing the club - which the owner would recognise as a bad move.
Gareth Southgate: High 40, Low 7, Current 20
Ex-Villa player, did OK at Middlesbrough with limited resources. Very few managers excel at their first appointment, did enough to show he has talent at the caper, but would he be better off going to the Championship for a while and proving himself?
Jurgen Klinsmann: High 30, Low 8, Current 16
Has played in the Premier League, was manager of the German national team for a while as well as Bayern Munich, and has spent plenty of time in the US, so should be known to the owner. Could do worse.
Martin Jol: High 42, Low 7.6, Current 25
Just pledged his allegiance to Ajax after almost taking the Fulham job, so why would he do an about-turn just a couple of weeks later?
Kevin McDonald: High 50, Low 10, Current 14.5
Caretaker manager, so always in with a chance. Must admit I've never heard of him before so don't know how well regarded he is in coaching circles. Take note of Betfair's rules on these markets -
an individual appointed by Aston Villa FC on an ‘interim’, ‘caretaker’, ‘temporary’ (including an appointment described as ‘to the end of the season’) or similar basis who remains manager in that capacity for at least 10 completed consecutive English League games (including over the course of more than a single season), will be considered to have been appointed as the next first team manager for the purpose of this market and Betfair will settle the market accordingly on that person.
I'd be surprised if AVFC took that long to appoint someone, but you never know.
Mark Hughes: High 75, Low 14, Current 20
Just appointed at Fulham, why on earth would he leave before the season had even started?
Alan Curbishley: High 48, Low 4, Current 34
Highly-regarded back in his Charlton days but stocks have gone downhill since. Don't see him as one to pick up a top-half of the EPL job.
Slaven Bilic: High 70, Low 8, Current 60
Bigger media tart than Eriksson, throws his hat into the ring every time a decent job in Britain is available. And still yet to be taken seriously by any club.
Paul Lambert: High 120, Low 17, Current 24
Took Norwich to promotion from League 1 last season, has impressed in his time at Wycombe, Colchester and Norwich. Young manager on the way up.
And then there's the news this morning that Steve Coppell has quit Bristol city, thus his name has to go onto the list, at least for rumours.
So who will get it? I don't know, but I'll be busy trading the prices as the rrumours keep coming in...
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Padraig Harrington loses millions in failed business with Dermot Desmond
Padraig Harrington and his Billionaire Irish businessman Dermot Desmond have lost more than £15m in a technology firm, documents filed last week have revealed.
Mr Desmond, whose wealth is estimated at €1.4bn (£1.1bn), is regarded as one of the shrewdest investors in the business.
The businessman and the golfer, who finished second in the Irish Open in Killarney, yesterday, took the huge hit in a technology firm called Carthow Limited (formerly U4EA Technologies) in which his brother Columb Harrington was a director. It collapsed with debts of nearly £40m.
Gibraltar-based businessman Mr Desmond lost £11,918,811 in the venture through his private investment firm IIU. Harrington, who is having a mixed sporting year, lost £3,361,716.
The technology company is now in administration and, according to figures filed in court last week, there is only £250 left after £5m was paid to ‘secured’ creditors such as banks and institutions.
That's enough to take the fun out of life for a while...
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Read my preview here.
20,000 people squeeze into Fannie Bay Racecourse for the Darwin Cup, which is traditionally held on the first Monday in August. 20,000 people mightn't sound like a lot, but when the local population is about 60,000, and Darwin is a long, long way from anywhere, it's a huge crowd!
The racing mightn't be the highest standard (the Northern Territory horse population is full of cast-offs from the southern states of Australia), but the Darwin Cup carnival is a fantastic event with a very strong bookmakers' ring. The racing schedule is done right too, with the Cup being the last race of the day at 5.30pm, followed by post-racing festivities at the track - so there's no need to start ridiculously early like they do on Melbourne Cup day, when many are passed out by the big race. It also gives the crowd plenty of time to arrive, and recover from the previous night's hangover....
If you've never been, it is a fantastic event to attend. Can't wait to get back there again myself....
For those in the UK, Darwin will be shown on the overnight Australian racing coverage on ATR, but I can't guarantee they won't switch to the teleshopping before the Cup!