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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 minister Ivan Yates and his wife Deirdre, said significant job losses at the betting shops were inevitable.

The receiver, Neil Hughes of Hughes Blake Accountants, will try to sell as many of the shops as possible as a going concern.

Mr Hughes said the company would continue to trade as normal during the receivership and all existing bets would be honoured.

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The directors said that due to significant bank debts of around €6m and money owed to landlords for 'top of the market' rents at shops throughout the country, the company was now insolvent.



This may be perfectly normal for a regular business but bookmakers are not regular businesses. They take money from punters in the form of bets which they (may have to) pay out later once the result is confirmed. A struggling hardware chain exchanges cash for goods. A bookmaker gives you a piece of paper and in this case, you have to hope that they will still be in business the next day!

I've said it before, I'll say it again. A bookmaker should not be able to accept bets from the public without A) lodging a sizeable security bond relative to the size of their business, and B) having their financial affairs monitored by a licensing authority to ensure they are still financially liquid.

The bigger firms should be demanding such policies are introduced to serve as a difficult barrier to entry. The tougher it becomes to swing a satchel, the more rigid the industry becomes and the less rogues we have to deal with.

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