Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2010

the real winter sport starts tomorrow

(The Canadian women's biathlon team posing for a fundraising calendar in the lead-up to Vancouver. Image from CTV.ca, Rachel Boekel)

Tomorrow marks the opening of the IBU Biathlon World Cup season, with the Women's Individual race at Ostersund in Sweden, the first of six events spread over five days. You may wonder why an Aussie who is not particularly fond of cold weather (or guns) loves the sport of biathlon so much. Read on....

"The combination of two very contradictory disciplines, skiing and shooting, in the same competition confronts an athlete with a very demanding challenge. Cross-country ski racing required intense, full out physical exertion over an extended period of time whereas shooting demands extremely fine control, stability and focus. When athletes arrive at the shooting range, they have to shoot at very small targets, with a racing heartbeat and heaving chest because the clock is running even while they are shooting and a missed target results in a penalt…

Dire straits

That sums up the Australian cricket team this series - it is simply a mediocre side and no matter who they bring in, it is highly unlikely to change it. Is Twenty20 cricket to blame? Have other sports stolen cricket's thunder by snapping up the promising young players, who are often gifted at more than one sport? Is it a backlash against an overly cocky Australian team since Ponting took the helm? Or is it simply a regression to the mean after a superstar-studded golden era, now we have to return to a more 'normal' set of cricketers, with no match-winners amongst them?

Things don't look good for either side to be honest. 11 wickets each over five full days on a pitch which usually has plenty of life in it doesn't augur well for the bowlers of either nation. Let's hope there's some life in the remaining pitches of the series because we all slag off the lifeless pitches on the subcontinent which lead to huge scores. The crowd on the final day showed what they…

the analysts start to attack Betfair valuation

There was an article yesterday behind the FT paywall attacking the valuation of Betfair and its growth prospects. This essentially echoed my thoughts in various posts here and discussions with a couple of investment firms. I don't see the price crashing, but I do think that growth prospects are limited in the short-term. Their big upshot will be if one of the biggest nations in the world opens up, such as China, India or the US. Don't hold your breath though, that might take a while.

Betfair reply to analyst’s unfavourable share forecast

After picking up three awards at the eGR Awards on Wednesday night, narrowly missing out on the Operator of the Year award, it’s neigh-on definite that attending on behalf Betfair will have left you quite the hangover to deal with. This will have been made significantly worse by a news item published on FT.com yesterday morning – something that isn’t curable by a Bloody Mary.

After the founders floated it last month, Betfair’s stock was put on t…

the wash-up from day 1 at the Gabba

England all out 260, Australia 0/25 in reply.

The obvious highlight of the day was Peter Siddle's glorious hat-trick. I'd had a bit of a snooze on the couch for a couple of hours, only to be woken by the first wicket, then woke up properly when Prior was skittled and then was jumping around the lounge room when Broad was out first ball. Great performance from the birthday boy, whose selection was questioned by many (not me though, he's a Victorian, thus he is champ!)

Despite England being knocked over on day one, the pitch didn't seem to have any demons in it. The Australian bowlers as a whole performed well, with the exception of left-arm tripe bowler Mitchell Johnson. Expensive and didn't see him threaten at all. The others were discplined, bowling the right line and the right length for the majority of the day. If you put it in the right place often enough against batsmen who aren't the world's best, they'll get themselves out soon enough. Credit to …

as the dust starts to settle

The panic and hyperbole after the Federal Court overturned the NSW racefields legislation case in favour of Racing NSW has been ridiculous. Trainers threatening to move states (from the richest state of racing in Australia to one which has been a basket case for many years, but might just get its hands on a huge wad of cash to piss up against a wall), owners' associations calling for the heads of Racing Victoria for carrying out sound business practice called negotiation rather than wasting years and millions of dollars in court and various Tabcorp press releases handed to their mouthpiece newspapers, particularly the Daily Telegraph, spouting all sorts of crap regarding product fees applying to other sports. Tabcorp, the bed partner of Racing NSW, which somehow manages to cop an exemption from paying the local racefields fees (due to the fees it pays to the government and racing industry under the terms of the privatisation), outrageously also gets exemptions from paying a produc…

football match-fixing

BBC 5 Live are running a programme on Sunday evening devoted to match-fixing in football. Not a lot of new ground by the sound of this article, but to those who don't follow it closely, it will be an eye-opener.

Football Match fixing - how betting gives the game away

Some 300 football games a season are fixed in Europe's top leagues, according to experts. The BBC's Tim Mansel gains exclusive access to Sportradar, which tracks betting on football matches all over the world, looking for evidence of suspicious behaviour.

The former German football manager Sepp Herberger once famously said that people go to football matches because they do not know who will win. I have just watched a match in the almost certain knowledge not only of who would win, but with a fairly shrewd idea of what the score would be.

Russia gets off lightly coming into biathlon season

It's damn cold outside, so the best thing about that weather is that biathlon season must be starting soon! If you haven't read my blog in previous European winters, you'll have missed how excited I get about betting on this sport, particularly trading in-running on Betfair. It is a brilliant sport once you understand how the format works.

Anyway, Russia had five competitors caught for doping last season, including three top 10 biathletes, and the International Biathlon Union (which can't be too harsh against them as Russia is the biggest nation in the sport) has handed out a rather lame $68,000 fine to the national body. Hardly a massive penalty given how endemic in the system it had become, and their past history...

Biathlon union fines Russia $68,000 for doping

BERLIN (AP)—The International Biathlon Union has fined Russia $68,000 for a series of doping violations.

The IBU sanctioned the Russian national federation Monday after five of its athletes were caught doping o…

out come the spin doctors for Tabcorp

Australia's biggest betting company, the once government-owned and still heavily protected by said powers, Tabcorp, are pushing out the tripe to rub Betfair and corporate bookmaker's noses in it after the Racing NSW v Betfair court ruling yesterday. How about this piece of tripe from Sydney's biggest daily paper, masquerading as Tabcorp's weekly newsletter, the Daily Telegraph.

Racing bet case bonanza for NRL

The NRL could receive a $17 million a year windfall - or $1 million-plus per club -following a landmark court ruling on Wednesday in favour of Racing NSW.

Racing NSW had their right upheld in the Federal Court to charge all betting agencies and corporate bookmakers 1.5 per cent of their turnover as the price for allowing them to bet on their product.

The decision has given the NSW racing industry an instant $120 million payday from money already collected but so far held in a trust account. It will also earn the body $50 million a year in future revenues.

But the deci…

Racing NSW wins racefields legislation case appeal

Must admit this one caught me by surprise. Initially Betfair had won the case alleging Racing NSW had discriminated against them and in favour of their bed partners Tabcorp in charging a 1.5% turnover fee for the use and publication of NSW race fields. Racing NSW appealed the verdict and were today awarded an unanimous verdict in their favour, despite clear evidence that Racing NSW do everything possible in their power to support Tabcorp.


Racing NSW wins Federal Court decision


The financial future of racing in NSW is secure following a decisive legal victory for Racing NSW over corporate betting agencies in the Federal Court today.

Racing NSW executives were elated when three Federal Court handed down a unanimous ruling upholding the right of the NSW racing authority to impose a 1.5 per cent tax on turnover from all wagering operators covering NSW racing.


Naturally Peter V'Landys is claiming victory and that his judgment as supreme ruler of NSW racing should never have been…

pulling no punches - a dissection of the Australian cricket squad

Naming a 17-man squad ten days out from the First Test sounds like a bone-headed decision to me, but the selectors had no control over it apparently - they were told to do it by Cricket Australia who wanted to have the team finalised this week in order to fulfill all their bloody sponsorship and marketing commitments. Reeks of cockiness at a time Australia doesn't deserve it, when their official Test ranking has dropped to fifth - not that anyone particularly cares about that rating but it is obvious Australia no longer rule the roost.

THE INCUMBENTS

Ricky Ponting - still a world-class batsman but the rust is starting to creep in. Have not been convinced by his captaincy for several years now but the lack of a better alternative keeps him in the job. Also, Aussie selectors tend to retire Australian captains rather than let them play under another leader, although that policy hasn't been required for many years now. Should never have kept the job after losing the Ashes twice.

Sportingbet and Unibet to merge?

Reports in the Sunday Times suggest the two firms are set for discussions regarding a merger, no doubt to keep in touch with the giant Party Gaming/bwin merger. On the face of it, it makes sense - both are huge organisations with healthy diversity, but their peak regions don't overlap - Unibet are strongest in Scandinavia, Sportingbet are strong in southern Europe and Australia.


Sportingbet set for merger talks

Sportingbet, the online gambling operator, is examining a merger with Swedish rival Unibet that would create a £600 million group, a newspaper claims.

The companies are understood to have held preliminary discussions about combining the businesses, with further talks expected in coming weeks, according to The Sunday Times.

There'd be one benefit of this for punters - most people can actually get a decent bet on at Sportingbet, few punters have that 'privilege' at Unibet.

Poland threatens to prosecute online gamblers

As the world moves forward with global trading, technology which can put you in touch with people on the other side of the world in real time and open borders across Europe, Poland wants to step back into the dark ages and prosecute online gamblers for betting offshore. Not even America tries that ridiculous tactic....

Poland threatens to prosecute online gamblers

An act passed in October 2009 banned online gambling and related advertising, but the ban has clearly not been effective. In early 2010 the government even proposed an internet filter system to take control of internet gambling by blocking foreign-hosted gambling sites, but after petitions were sent to President Lech KaczyƄski criticizing the plan, the idea was eventually abandoned.

....

The new laws, according to the Warsaw Business Journal, would allow individual gamblers to be prosecuted for using foreign-hosted gambling sites. It would also severely restrict the rules surrounding advertising, bringing foreign gambling adve…

Pakistani cricket - still in denial like deluded alcoholics?

The state of cricket in Pakistan is still a complete mess. On one side you have Mohammed Asif cancelling his appeal against his spot-fixing suspension, virtually an admission of guilt. On the other, Salman Butt and Mohammed Aamer (Amir) are still protesting their innocence in the matter, although Aamer has been reported as saying he was influenced by peer pressure.

Add to that the debacle of cricket administration in the country - trying to cover their own arses by throwing out random and baseless accusations about other countries fixing matches whilst remaining in complete denial about the state of the cancer in their own system. Yesterday's flee to safety of Zulqarnain Haider from the touring party in Dubai after allegedly receiving death threats because he defied orders to throw matches simply shows it is just more of the same. Access to players obviously isn't being blocked, and there must be others still in the squad who continue to insult their country and the world of c…

industry news round-up Nov 4

Change this week at Ladbrokes with a major internal reshuffle (a cynic might say of the deckchairs on the Titanic). Relatively new chief exec Richard Glynn has brought in several fresh faces and moved a few old names on. Definitely out with the old, in with the new.

Asian bookie 12Bet who have major sponsorships with Sevilla in La Liga and snooker tournaments, will be acquired by Asian online casino and poker firm, AsianLogic, in a move thought to complement their existing range of products.

Betfair's share price has taken a predictable tumble, dropping from the peak of around £15.50 during conditional trading to the current £13.95 as smaller shareholders wish to cash in their chips. No reason to think the price will fall much further, it was always going to surge briefly as the public got excited about it.

Tabcorp held a record $107m on Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, buoyed by the form of superstar stallion So You Think, who started as the shortest favourite in decades. He will now …

money-buyers getting nervous as Australia's cricket supremacy is long gone

Aussies were cruising after having Sri Lanka at 8/107 chasing 240 to win.Taylor and Malinga have been tonking the average Aussie attack all around the MCG, now they only need 25 runs off nine overs. All comes down to wickets now and captain Michael Clarke doesn't have anything up his sleeve....

the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation

It doesn't get any better than a horse race that has a public holiday for it. The Melbourne Cup will be run tomorrow (3pm local time, 4am GMT). This may be the strongest Cup ever, it's certainly the best in my era with Group 1 winners galore, but it also has a few that should have been excluded on recent form.

So You Think is an absolute superstar. It showed on Saturday it can settle, go to sleep and then switch back on when necessary. That's what Saintly did to win in 1996, and only a rough trip in running is likely to beat him. From gate three, he might just squeezed and shuffled back a bit. Even still, very hard to beat him, no major concern about the distance despite not having run further than 2040m, High Chaparral's are flying in Aus at the moment and it would be fitting for the 150th Melbourne Cup to go to the master, Bart Cummings.

As for the others:

Shocking - won last year, goes up in weight, but loves Flemington. Was drawn v.wide last year so not bothered by…