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Showing posts from January, 2011

Perth racing faces a critical decision

When a state capital of over 1m people has two racecourses close to the city, the inevitable pressure to sell one of them will occur as the popularity of horse racing continues to diminish relative to alternative entertainment options. Racing in Western Australia has been strong in recent years, with metropolitan prizemoney embarrassing South Australia and making it a viable option for owners and trainers. But that has come at a cost - Perth Racing has robbed Peter to pay Paul and now they are struggling to cope with interest payments of $1m per year.

Premier puts Perth Racing under the pump

WA Premier Colin Barnett is mounting pressure on cash-strapped Perth Racing to sell Belmont Park racecourse to make way for the development of a 100,000 seat football stadium.

With Perth Racing to announce major prizemoney cuts this week, the WA industry is supporting Barnett's call to dump the ageing Belmont as a winter racing venue.


Traditionally Ascot is the A-grade track in Perth, while B…

Betfair shares battling to fight back

Early in the week Betfair shares cracked the £10 mark again for the first time in a while, things were starting to look up, particularly on the back of some hard work promoting the company to its float partners last week. But that price took a real pounding yesterday, dropping back to 917p overnight, with a 15p recovery so far this morning. What triggered it? Did the market panic over another cold spell which may cause racing cancellations? Did some 'expert' analyst put out a sell call or did the market not like Betfair's association with sacked Sky pundit Andy Gray?

Who knows - I've given up trying to predict what the stock market will do on a day-to-day basis...

The betting shops in city centres debate

Interesting discussion in today's Racing Post about 'plagues' of betting shops in city centres. Councils and residents are getting sick of them, the big bookies love them and can't get enough retail shops.

Why I hear you ask? Racing's share of the gambling pound is ever decreasing, more and more punters are betting online and you rarely see anyone in the betting shops that already exist... except standing around the FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) or glorified slot machines. And that's what brings in the profits for the bookies. Racing, football and any other sport they show in the shops are mere sideshow value to the evil machines.

Every licensed betting shop in the UK can have four FOBTs (little wonder Irish betting shops are struggling in comparison without them), which have much higher prize limits than pub fruit machines. Sources at the biggest High St firms have told me that they consistently make up to £1m per DAY across their network of outlets f…

nice work if you can get it

Sportsbet, the original sports bookmaker in Australia, was set up in the 1980s by a roguish chap called Bryan Clark. He eventually sold it around 2001 to a firm with suspicious overseas betting links, and pressrue from regulators and bank managers forced them to sell. Enter Matthew Tripp with a $250k cheque in 2005. Six years later and he's rolling in it.

Tripp's big punt on Sportsbet pays off

WHEN Matthew Tripp paid $250,000 for Darwin-based bookmaker Sportsbet in 2005, it was on the edge of bankruptcy and had just eight staff.

Just six years later, Tripp is close to finalising a sale to Irish bookmaker Paddy Power in a deal that values the company at $338 million and will net him about $50m.

"We had one IT guy and a couple of phone operators and that was Sportsbet," Tripp says of the business he took over.

Since then, the company has grown to employ more than 250 staff, some 40 of whom are based in the Northern Territory, where bets must be struck under the terms of …

Indian cricket punters arrested

Small fry punters and bookmakers caught up in this one by the looks of it.

6 held for betting during India-SA ODI

Six persons were arrested in New Delhi for allegedly indulging in betting during the One Day International between India and South Africa on Friday. The gang was using website www.betfair.com for obtaining the latest fluctuating rates for the stake and betting on the cricket match, Chhaya Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer), said.

Stake money worth Rs 72,000 was recovered from the house in Rohini Sector 16 in Outer Delhi.


Gotta love how Indian journalism traditions forces them to list the entire website address rather than just referring to them as Betfair. Surely not publishing the URL would be a better idea if it was banned there?

Meanwhile, huge amounts were being traded on South Africa at 1.01 today before Yusuf Pathan scared the willies out of the money-buyers with 105 runs off 74 balls.


Luckily for them, Pathan got out and the queue to jump off the bridge di…

Tennis match-fixing to be investigated

Settle down, it's nothing from Melbourne but the bent-as-a-three-bob-note ATP match from St Petersburg in October between Filippo Volandri and Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Evening Standard reports that the Tennis Integrity Unit is investigating the circumstances around this match.

I posted twice on this match originally, here and then a day later here.

Volandri will almost certainly retire this year anyway, so I suspect any penalty will be meaningless anyway.

Australian Open previews

I've been writing betting previews of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments for over a decade now, the latest instalment can be found at PuntingAce, men's and women's articles on the same page.

My fee from the articles has been donated to the Qld Floods Appeal.

the horror of the Queensland floods

For 24/7 coverage, visit ABCNews24

Please donate to the Official Qld Govt Floods appeal, and/or support any fundraising events being arranged around the world.


I must admit I underestimated the earlier stage of the Queensland floods, with the misguided logic that few people lived in most of the places affected. Now the rain belts have moved south and it's disastrous. The sheer volume of water set to flow down the Brisbane River is impossible to grasp - twice the size of Sydney harbour, down a river which is quite narrow in places.

Photos can't do justice to the Qld floods, look at the speed of the water & where the cars finished



And this is what is looked like before the rain
The Drift restaurant lives up to its name. Later news footage showed the platform still floating, but virtually destroyed.



Toowoomba and Ipswich have seen the worst of it, but Brisbane has a few hours left before the river is expected to peak. Thankfully my friends and family there live on higher gro…

today's No Shit Sherlock award goes to...

...Wikileaks for telling us something blatantly obvious...

Bulgarian football's 'mafia links' exposed in cables

Some of Bulgaria's most popular football clubs have ties with mafia bosses, who use them to launder money, according to a US diplomatic document revealed by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

"Bulgarian soccer clubs are widely believed to be directly or indirectly controlled by organised crime figures who use their teams as a way to legitimise themselves, launder money, or make a fast buck," a January 2010 cable from the US embassy in Sofia to Washington noted.

Anyone who follows football betting outside of the major leagues could have told you that, no need to lock a bloke up on trumped-up rape charges over it!

Courtsiders not welcome in Chennai

Courtesy of Tennisform

A betting racket has rocked the ongoing Chennai Open tennis tournament in the city reports the Deccan Chronicle. The event organisers unearthed the scam after an interrogation of four foreign nationals — two Germans, an Italian and a Russian, who were caught betting live from the stadium through their gadgets. All of them belong to the international betting syndicate and have come all the way to Chennai only for online gambling. Fernando Soler, the tournament director, confirmed the betting incident. “They were caught but let off with a warning,” he said. However, a Tamil Nadu Tennis Association official added that the city police officials visited their hotels and interrogated them. “The ATP has taken photos of the accused and noted down their passport details, which will be circulated to tournaments across the world to curb the betting,” informed the senior official. With a time difference of 15 seconds between the live match and online scoring system, tennis p…

betting/life maxims

Haven't found much to rant about today, so I thought I'd reprint some very useful betting philosophies I've found on different sites. This batch were originally found on the Slipperytoad blog.

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. James Joyce - Irish author (1882 - 1941)

When everybody thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong.

Losers think of selecting the winner and beating a race. Professionals think of betting for value and beating the races.

Never succumb to anyone who just wants to let you know what you are doing will never work.

Don't fall foul of the favourite/longshot bias i.e. Horses with short odds (i.e., favourites) tend to win even more frequently than indicated by the final market odds, while horses with long odds (i.e., longshots) win less So, during tissue compilation, don't underestimate the chances of preferred contenders and overestimate the changes of marginal contenders.

The best handicapping literature in the world are your own records.

The…

at least have some dignity in defeat

Australia have been completely outplayed in this Ashes series. With the exception of the WACA where one cricket expert on Twitter said 'Aliens invaded Mitchell Johnson's body for a week and then left', it hasn't even been close. England have been everything Australia used to be - relentless, impossible to budge and mentally superior, not forgetting better at little things like batting, bowling and fielding.

Most of the Australian side are now playing for their futures. Several should be marked 'Never to play Test cricket again', however mitigating factors such as lack of depth, spineless selectors and most of them play for NSW will give some of them more chances than they deserve.

Carrying on like spoilt children though when decisions go against you, the ball CLEARLY bounces in front of the catcher or not clapping the batsman when they reach 50 or 100 is just pathetic. It's one thing to hate losing - all top sportspeople hate losing, but sooking, whingeing …

do Irish punters have any rights at all?

Irish racing stewards post a strong case for most useless in the world, allowing races to start while jockeys aren't yet on board, suspending a jockey for overuse of the whip despite the fact he dropped it at the start or an on-course bookmaker doing a runner after a history of struggling to pay up. Now we have another dagger in the back of Irish punters, but this isn't one under their direct control - this is a government issue, a government who set a very high standard for financial mismanagement and cluelessness.

Irish bookmaking chain Celtic Bookmakers have gone into receivership with debts of over €6m, yet are still allowed to trade, taking money off punters as if everything was OK. If a bookmaker shows the slightest sign of insolvency, they should have their licence suspended immediately to protect the industry and the faith of punters.

Yates bookmaking firm in receivership

AIB has appointed a receiver to Celtic Bookmakers Ltd.

A statement from the directors, former minis…

punters shafted again by lame rules and poor stewarding

The UK racing industry insists on running these low standard all-weather meetings to generate turnover to pay the Levy. The Levy fund isn't enough to provide decent prizemoney for these rubbish events. Ireland, slated recently for not having their all-weather track open during the depths of winter, at least maintain a standard - they have minimum prizemoney levels they refuse to break, meaning they won't just run rubbish races for the sake of it with prizemoney of a case of Guinness.

At Lingfield on Thursday, two low-grade handicaps - Class 6 - the lowest of the low in Britain, and described as "..shit, low-grade handicaps" by the trainer in question, were won by horses which were entitled by 20/1 shots at least, with zero recent form on the board. Both horses were backed into favouritism (which to be honest, wouldn't require millions on such poor races) and won comfortably. The humble punter who wasn't in on the information is entitled to throw his hands in …

Betfair in the USA - still a long way off

Over the past few months, there has been some excitement about the prospects of exchange wagering being permitted in the USA, particularly California and New Jersey. The governments of these two states have passed legislation to allow exchange betting on local horse racing, with Betfair heavily involved in the lobbying. All that has happened is the current gambling legislation has been expanded to include a racing-only betting exchange as an option, it's not a given, and it's certainly not a given that Betfair have the rights to it.

There are still some huge obstacles a betting exchange has to overcome before a Betfair-branded exchange is up and running in the USA.

1 - the debate over the ethics of laying horses. That hasn't occurred yet, and there's no reason to believe American racing people will be any less antiquated than the rest of the world when it comes to explaining that you can effectively lay a horse via current wagering systems, it's just more complicat…

Bravo Sportingbet

Sportingbet have been announced as the naming rights sponsor of the Queen Mother Champion Chase during the Cheltenham Festival. They replace Seasons Holidays, who like most travel companies, will be feeling the pinch from the recession.

Why bravo? Unlike several other bookmakers sponsoring at the Festival - Stan James, William Hill and Ladbrokes - the Alderney-based firm pay the full amount of their UK horseracing levy voluntarily. The others pay very little on their online business. A bookmaker with a conscience rather than bloody-minded greed. Makes a pleasant change doesn't it with UK racing prizemoney levels ridiculously low?

Other major race sponsors at Cheltenham - Coral and the Tote are fully based in the UK and pay their respective taxes and levy.

a city built on sin and excess can only go tits up when the economy crashes...

No great surprise here - most over-rated city in the world I reckon, even more fake than the oases built in the desert like Dubai and Doha. Casinos and clubs charging $20 for a drink do nothing for me....

Las Vegas in crisis

Party Over


AS MAYOR of Las Vegas for almost 12 years, Oscar Goodman has made it his mission to personify what he calls this “adult playland” in the desert. He prances through the casinos with scantily clad showgirls draped on each arm (although he is happily married). He claims to drink a bottle of gin every night (but “never before 5pm”). In his office he sits on a carved throne and gives visitors a symbolic gambling chip that depicts him, with his trademark Martini glass, as “the happiest mayor of the greatest city in the world”.

Alas, much of this, like most things in Las Vegas, is purely show. This is not merely because the famous Strip of hotels and casinos that accounts for more than half of all gaming in the state is deliberately (for tax reasons) just outsi…