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24 Nov 20 08:42
Date Joined: 19 Oct 15
| Topic/replies: 8,754 | Blogger: ItsMeSwaddle's blog
NOT SURE WHY THIS IS BEHIND A PAYWALL - Pretty desperate stuff.

May or may not be from a well known racing rag:

I could cry myself to sleep some nights. We've barely been making ends meet and there's just no help out there for us.
The lives of Paul and Lynn Garritty have changed beyond all recognition since the doors of Britain's racecourses were locked in March.

From Hexham and Cartmel, to Sedgefield and Catterick, the husband-and-wife team are a fixture on the northern jumps circuit, representing one of the few on-course bookmaking firms that make the majority of their living away from the summer months in favour of the leaden skies and finger-numbing cold of the jumps season.

They should have been readying themselves for a profitable weekend on Haydock's Betfair Chase raceday last week, but instead they were running books at hound trailing events across the Lake District to keep their operation afloat.

The coronavirus pandemic has choked their business to the point of extinction, and while Monday's seismic news about the potential return of crowds to some racecourses has provided a glimmer of hope, they have learned the hard way not to get ahead of themselves this year.

The Garrittys have been far from alone in facing such despair this year. No other facet of British racing has had to hit the pause button in the same way as on-course bookmakers, who have been rendered almost obsolete by the absence of meaningful crowds.

The industry itself has faced trouble for some time, with poor gates at midweek meetings combined with the rapid proliferation of online betting alternatives leading to a 32 per cent fall in the number of registered operators over the last two decades.

Yet nothing could have prepared the industry for what the pandemic has thrown at them, with many of its members now fearing there is no escape from the financial quagmire unless all racecourses are operating at full capacity again by the spring.

Lynn Garritty at Redcar last year
Lynn Garritty at Redcar last year
'I could cry myself to sleep some nights'

Since racecourses closed their doors to the paying public in March, the majority of on-course operators have seen their revenues vanish, with 400 businesses up and down Britain teetering on the brink of disaster.

Tentative predictions from the Administration of Gambling on Tracks (AGT) suggest up to ten per cent of on-course books will cease trading as a result of the pandemic, and Garritty can see her own business among that number.

"When racing stopped in March none of us envisaged we would still be where we are now, and the uncertainty of everything makes the situation impossible to deal with," she says.

"How on earth are we supposed to plan for the future of our business when we've got absolutely no idea where we're going? This is our sole income. We have everything invested in our business and you just feel as though you're banging your head against a brick wall trying to get some answers."

At the very least, hound trailing has proved a welcome distraction for the Garrittys, but the reality of the situation facing their business is never far from their minds. They say poor communication from within racing and the government has been commonplace, as have issues trying to access financial support.

"Apart from the obvious financial impact of not being able to work for more than seven months, this all puts a huge strain on our mental health," she says.

Despite this plight, the aid propping up vast swathes of the UK economy during the pandemic has not been forthcoming for on-course bookmakers, many of whom have run into roadblocks as they attempt to access government grants or bounce-back loans from banks.

"Most of the grants have been based upon the rateable value of your business property but on-course bookmakers don't have properties because all our money is invested in our pitches," Garritty explains. "They are essentially our premises but there's no support for us because they don't have a rateable value.

"Additionally, we're running into problems accessing the bounce-back loans because it's so difficult to get a business account if you've got anything to do with gambling."

Bookmakers' pitches don't help them access government grants as they don't have a rateable value
Bookmakers' pitches don't help them access government grants as they don't have a rateable value
Edward Whitaker
Andy Geraghty got his first taste of the on-course betting ring as a 12-year-old. Now 45, Geraghty has seen his profitable business halted in its tracks and is relying on the sole income of his wife, a teacher, as well as his life savings to support his two children.

"We're a frustrated lot and we're forgotten about," he says. "It just feels like nobody cares. I could cry myself to sleep some nights. We've barely been making ends meet and there's just no help out there for us. It's very difficult for us to get any sort of government or council assistance. My wife's a school teacher so we are lucky to have that income but there are plenty who don't."

Without access to financial aid, bookmakers such as Geraghty are being stretched to breaking point, says the president of British Racecourse Bookmakers Association (BRBA) Chris Hudson.

Hudson, along with other on-course stalwarts such as Keith Johnson, is spearheading a campaign to get the hardship recognised in Westminster, penning letters to MPs, including chancellor Rishi Sunak.

"A £13 billion grant scheme was set up by the government to give support to nomadic professions, which should include bookmakers, but we've seen little of the money," Hudson says. "One of the members I represent got £270 sent to him by Leeds City council. The guy hasn't worked for nearly a year, it's outrageous."

A number of bookmakers returned to the racecourse to serve owners at behind-closed-doors meetings in recent months – their numbers limited to two per meeting under current guidelines – while others have seen the track only at trial meetings.

Arthur Mulgrew has done neither. His last day working was at the Cheltenham Festival in March and since then his life has consisted of little more than walking four miles a day and taking care of a border terrier puppy purchased in January.

Mulgrew clearly remembers the moment he realised the pandemic was something out of the ordinary.

"A mate from Scotland came up to me at Cheltenham and said they'd called off Celtic and Rangers. I thought he was joking," he says. "Then Boris [Johnson, prime minister] closed the pubs and suddenly I had no work, no football and I couldn't go for a drink for 111 days."

Mulgrew has been a fixture of the betting ring since 1993 and the severity of the situation facing many of his colleagues is not lost on him.

"I've been in the game long enough to keep myself afloat but if I was just starting out now I'd be really worried and I can imagine a lot of people less established in the industry will be struggling," he says.

"I'm okay, I can suffer for a bit, but it just seems like nobody gives a damn about us. We bring so much to the game. I do think things will come back and just really hope it does because this is a great way to make a living."

Return of crowds would be long overdue

The return of crowds is central to solving the crisis on-course operators are facing and key to preventing the loss of businesses.

That's why Monday's news could be such a lifeline for on-course bookmakers, but even so, while accepting the difficulty of the task faced by those planning racing's full return, some bookmakers, including Keith Johnson, feel more could have been done to get crowds back sooner.

"Doncaster racecourse was the safest place to be in the whole of the Doncaster area after all the precautions and protocols had been put in place, but despite all that even a few thousand were not allowed to attend the St Leger meeting," Johnson says.

"There are many acres of outdoor viewing on the Town Moor, but it was still deemed to be unsafe while at the same time several times the proposed number were deemed safe to attend an indoor shopping venue only a few miles away.

"Why were 1,000 people allowed to attend the London Palladium to listen to Arsene Wenger when racing continues behind closed doors? There is a perception racing always has festival-sized crowds, but the truth is very different."

Keith Johnson is set to suffer a 99.7% drop in turnover
Keith Johnson is set to suffer a 99.7% drop in turnover
David Carr
In March, Johnson's annual turnover at the end of the financial year stood at just north of £3.5 million after accepting 246,000 wagers. If crowds were prevented from returning to the racecourse until the end of next March, his current take would be south of £13,000 on less than 1,000 tickets, representing a 99.7 per cent fall in turnover.

"I've been to a few of the behind-closed-doors meetings but the trade isn't worth it," says Johnson.

"One day at Sedgefield me and the other bookmaker took 28 bets between us all day. That's not just a waste of time, it's a waste of life. The only reason we were going was to give some of the lot who work for us a day out of the house, a chance to get out and meet people again."

Geraghty echoes Johnson's frustration, adding: "It's all very sad and frustrating. Racecourses have been used for car boot sales where there might be thousands of people attending yet they couldn't hold a race meeting."

Could more have been done? David Armstrong, chief executive of the Racecourse Association, is a key figure in mapping out racing's return to normality and understands how on-course bookmakers may feel they have slipped through the cracks, but he assures the industry they are an "integral" part of plans as British racing gets back on its feet.

"It's a vitally important part of our sport and we can't wait for them to be back along with crowds," Armstrong says. "Getting on-course bookmakers back on course is integral to the whole proposal of crowds returning.

"They will remain 100 per cent integral to the British raceday and as far we're concerned they're not forgotten either. I can understand why they may feel that way but we have and will continue to keep ongoing communication with them."

RCA chief executive David Armstrong insists on-course bookmakers haven't been forgotten
RCA chief executive David Armstrong insists on-course bookmakers haven't been forgotten
Edward Whitaker
'We won't be able to continue and we won't be alone'

Pressure was already on the betting ring even before the pandemic and now many bookmakers face questions as to whether they can keep their businesses commercially viable in the long run.

While daily operating costs have halted somewhat as a result of the pandemic, the money invested in pitches and basic equipment – hundreds of thousands of pounds, sometimes millions – continues to burn a hole in their pockets.

Portfolios of less appealing pitches at smaller regional tracks and equipment such as the joint – the stand used by bookmakers – computers, printers, LED boards and even umbrellas (which cost in the region of £400) mean businesses have sizeable financial outlays, the value of which relies on crowds returning to all courses in the near future.

Those at the top of the game with the best pitches at the biggest courses – Johnson, for instance, or John Hooper, who recently purchased 106 prize pitches from Ladbrokes Coral – are well positioned to withstand whatever turbulence is still likely to come the way of on-course bookmakers – and it's worth bearing in mind that only a proportion of courses are set to reopen and even those face an uncertain future given the shifting nature of the pandemic. Smaller operations like the Garrittys may not be so lucky.

"If this continues into the early part of next summer we won't be able to continue and we won't be alone," Garritty says. "You can sustain yourself for a while and if this is going to be a case of surviving the winter with crowds returning in the spring then we might just be okay."

Others warn of additional threats further down the road. While racecourses and the BHA aim to present a plan mitigating the risk of Covid-19 transmission in order to facilitate the quicker return of crowds, the concern for bookmakers is such a plan may include a rollout of cashless betting.

In July, prior to Goodwood's first trial meeting being cancelled, the four pitches available were advertised on the provision that only cashless payments would be taken, while Cheltenham has already confirmed all non-betting purchases will now be card only.

Star Sports' Ben Keith believes cashless betting presents an existential threat to on-course bookmakers.

"That's the death knell," he says. "If that comes in across the board then it could all be over. It's the biggest threat.

"When you bet in cash on a racecourse you hunt for the best price you can find, but if we go cashless why would people not just do it on their phones? That way they'd get six places and best odds guaranteed and we can't compete with that."

Ben Keith believes cashless betting is the biggest threat to on-course bookmakers
Ben Keith believes cashless betting is the biggest threat to on-course bookmakers
Edward Whitaker
Armstrong says: "In the Covid-19 environment the idea does become more attractive because it removes the risk factor of handling cash, but I can't see us making it mandatory that you have to be cashless in a betting ring any time soon."

Social distancing's potential to negatively impact trade at key meetings presents another hurdle to be cleared.

Keith estimates that at the Cheltenham Festival, the Ebor meeting and Royal Ascot there may be 400 spectators per pitch, a ratio needed to cover sizeable overheads and make those meetings pay.

"Social distancing would kill that ratio," Keith says. "Suddenly those expensive pitches with larger overheads don't become viable and people would have a really tough time making those days pay in the way they have in the past."


In January, figures published by the Levy Board showed attendances at British racecourses in 2019 had fallen for a fourth year in a row, with numbers dwindling at lower-quality midweek meetings.

A total of 5.62m people went racing in 2019, down from 5.77m in the previous 12 months, which itself was a drop on the 5.95m who passed through the gates in 2017, the 5.99m in 2016 and the 6.13m in 2015.

This fall was mirrored by bookmaker attendances, which fell by more than 1,200 from 40,3016 in 2018 to 39,608 last year, while the numbers of registered operators has fallen by 34 per cent since 2002.

Attendances across British racecourses fell for a fourth year in a row in 2019, and it has been mirrored by a fall in bookmaker attendances too
Attendances across British racecourses fell for a fourth year in a row in 2019, and it has been mirrored by a fall in bookmaker attendances too
Edward Whitaker
"When we come out of this, the top-quality pitches are going to remain top-quality pitches but elsewhere the value is far below that," Keith says. "At midweek meetings there's still 30 books in operation and I don't think that's workable."

Keith believes the industry should look at a form of a redesign that would help improve the profitability of books at midweek meetings once crowds do return.

"They'd have good business if there were eight or nine of them but we aren't in a position to turn around to the other bookies and tell them their pitches are being cancelled. However, I do think a reduction in numbers is going to have to happen to make the game sustainable.

"Could we look at the idea of a rota or something for the smaller meetings? It's not a fully fleshed-out idea but something like that could work."

On-course bookmaking may well need to inject fresh impetus to flourish in the future, but when bookmakers speak of being heartbroken by what is happening to their businesses right now, it is difficult to look that far ahead.

Negligible government support has rendered this fragile industry of just 400 exposed to the very worst financial implications of the pandemic, and while many remain resolute in the face of such circumstances, there can be no doubting the grave concern besetting them.

The upper echelons of the industry may live out this darkest of winters but, unless crowds are back at full capacity at all racecourses in the near future, some of those at the lower end of an industry woven into the fabric of British racing could simply wither away.


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Report bluesbirds to win November 24, 2020 10:47 AM GMT
it all online and iphones  now days killing track betting
Report hulk23 November 24, 2020 11:22 AM GMT
the exchanges allow anyone to be a bookie from the comfort of their own living room. 
the lay buttons are towards the right.
Report dominuet November 24, 2020 12:06 PM GMT
in the future, following the eventual demise of cash, i could envisage racecourses/bookmakers operating a 'chip' model as in casinos - You buy chips on the way in and cash them in on the way out.
Report GAZO November 24, 2020 12:16 PM GMT
if people have phones and they always will, it doesnt really matter what they do they cannot compete
Report kavvie November 24, 2020 12:37 PM GMT
if they were offering value people wpuld bet more with them. no variation of price now at all.   40 boards all showing 9/4? at least one time a few would take a view(sean graham,freddie williams ,john banks, stephen little, terry rogers ,joe mulligan to name but a few) and lay a lumpy bet based on its a few ticks under the machine price by them all.
Report truehoncho November 24, 2020 12:40 PM GMT
By next summer there should be decent crowds at tracks so if they can survive until then they should be ok.
Report stewarts rise November 24, 2020 1:00 PM GMT
Haven't read it all but got the gist of it, hope they do survive and deserve the same help as any other business forced to close.
Going racing wouldn't be the same without them and would be a very sterile experience, betfair is great for stay at home punters but doesn't compare to being handed a nice wedge by a bookie.
Report loper November 24, 2020 1:56 PM GMT
The fact that racing/racecourses, that depend on bookmakers as part of the raceday experience have not lifted a finger to provide financial assistance is a disgrace.
Report sparrow November 24, 2020 2:04 PM GMT
Would have to agree loper.
Report 1st time poster November 24, 2020 2:25 PM GMT
of course we could up article after article pre covid where bookmakers would complain 24/7 they werre basically a chartity handing money out and not breaking even,at least theyve been breaking ev during covid,or were they lying pre covid,

their own articles pre covid just prove this is an industry government help is designed not to keep afloat
Report 1st time poster November 24, 2020 2:26 PM GMT
the boys and girls who cried wolf
Report 1st time poster November 24, 2020 2:28 PM GMT
betting on hound trailing jesus was the **** fighing called off
Report GAZO November 24, 2020 2:34 PM GMT
the courses dont care about the on course bookmakers and would love to see the end of them for a on course tote system
Report sixtwosix November 24, 2020 2:38 PM GMT
I could be wrong , but I have always thought that the vast majority of racecourse punters were just 'cash cows' for the on course brigade , and that as pitches can cost a lot of money .....bookies must be earning plenty .

I am not surprised there has been little or no assistance for them , whether this is what should have happened I have no idea , but I imagine helping out bookies would get little support outside of racing , and not even all parts of racing.

I would have thought that technology rather than the pandemic was the greatest threat , as it has been to so many people/industries from pre - internet days.
Report clayfield1 November 24, 2020 2:47 PM GMT
Why would any sensible punter bet with the on course bookmakers, always under Betfair, on line offers sometimes extra e/w places, some go money back if you have a faller at the last fence, some give money back as a free bet if you horse is beaten a short head. The racecourse bookies should stop bleating and start and think what offers they can give to entices punters to bet with them instead of all being like sheep and following one another all the same price, as I said in my other post no variation, some punters wouldn't mind betting under the odds from the bookie next door if you gave out some kind of concession. But no all follow like sheep and keep bleating.
Report pablo-fanque November 24, 2020 3:38 PM GMT
would be sad to see no bookmakers on course

what can they do though ?
Report mmmalushka November 24, 2020 3:53 PM GMT
Sadly the decline in oncourse bookmaking started the day they voted to feed the machine,their only hope
is for a betting tax to be re-introduced off course and betting on the exchanges banned oncourse.
Report Cash Is King November 24, 2020 4:03 PM GMT
Drinking habits have changed so pubs have had to adapt or close.

Betting habits and barriers to entry also changing since the advent of online betting and betting exchanges so it's hard to feel too much sympathy for those on course bookmakers who do not see the writing on the wall, fail to adapt and remain wedded to an increasingly redundant business model.
Report 1st time poster November 24, 2020 4:09 PM GMT
because of last year and dildo now front and centre,i wouldnt be holding out much hope for chelt either
Report adge November 24, 2020 5:25 PM GMT
that is a great , factual article . i have seen part before but not the whole.
i know many on here enjoy slating us bookmakers and over the years i have happily responded
however the career bookmakers amongst us are not just in this game to make money , if that were the case i would have retired at 65 which is a number of years ago now.
it is a way of life , we love the involvement , the atmosphere of being there , the winning and losing and most important watching the racing live.
yes , i will be back . hopefuly in a small scale for lincold day but more likely as derby day approaches
sorry , but sitting watching tv racing and pressing buttons on a computer is no fun for me
Report ItsMeSwaddle November 24, 2020 5:30 PM GMT

I get there is a pecking order with pitch numbers but cant quite get my head around why so many turn up to poor midweek stuff? Yes you pay for a year/10 years or whatever but...

Could they not come up with some sort of rota for the midweek dross?

1000 punters turn up to Ripon on a Thursday with £200 in their pockets...they all punt every penny with the bookmakers and lose £200,000.

It was split between 30 bookmakers...

The next meeting they do they same....lose £200,000 between the lot of them.

Again it will be split 30 ways.

I dont get from a bookmaking point of view why 15 books didnt go one day and 15 the next, the punters would still have £400,000 to lose?

Or ore realistically people like to use one bookie, I get it, is there a fair system where books give up half of their pitches at a certain track (yes I know they are theoretically worth whatever you paid for them)?

Hard to see how anyone makes anything worth having when there is 40 in a row all 9/4 3.45 the exchange, but if there were 10 in a row it would still serve the same purpose to customers and the same amount of cash would change hands, just more per bookmaker.

IE I THINK THE ACTUAL ISSUE SHOULD BE LEFT WITH THE BOOKMAKERS/TRACKS THEMSELVES, when I attend the midweek stuff AW we get more bookmakers than punters, surely you knew there would be no punters there!
Report dambuster November 24, 2020 6:02 PM GMT
On course bookmakers are killing there own profession by putting money on the exchanges, backing and laying.
Its everyone for themselves, if they all stuck together, they might get somewhere, but i can't see that happening
Report screaming from beneaththewaves November 24, 2020 6:11 PM GMT
ItsMeSwaddle: If a bookmaker turns up for only half the meetings, making double the money at each meeting, he's still going to make exactly the same overall as he would if everyone turned up for every meeting. The only extra profit would come from reducing expenses by 50%, which might actually be quite a sum, but would also mean all their clerks and workmen would see their income slashed by 50%.
Report hulk23 November 24, 2020 6:12 PM GMT
you're showing 5/1 at each-way prices, someone walks up a ton win at 5's.  you look at the screen and it's 9.8 win-only here. 

must be tempting ...
Report Cider November 24, 2020 6:14 PM GMT
Why aren't course bookmakers entitled to the grants for the self employed?
Report 1st time poster November 24, 2020 6:15 PM GMT
think you have to be turning a profit Laugh
Report screaming from beneaththewaves November 24, 2020 6:15 PM GMT
The next step, of course, would be to reduce the number of bookmakers at each meeting by three quarters, and bookmakers only turn up for one in four meetings, slashing expenses still further.

It wouldn't take long for the penny to drop that if there's no competition among the books these days, you only in fact need one bookmaker turning up at each meeting.
Report ItsMeSwaddle November 24, 2020 6:18 PM GMT
All seems a bit backward to me, if the clerks are just standing around all day, they need to be chopped, tesco wouldnt have 40 tills open during the night?

Saving 50% of their time screaming was my point.

I understand it wouldnt generate any more money.

Get a different job with the time saved? Do they just deserve handouts from punters regardless of what dross is put up on their boards?

Adapt and do something else?
Report Cider November 24, 2020 6:22 PM GMT
Declaring a profit perhaps, 1st timer Grin

It's awful to have your day to day job taken away obviously, it's not true that there's been no support however.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves November 24, 2020 6:33 PM GMT
Fair points, Swaddle.

I wonder how many firms these days turn up at some meetings more for a day out with their mates at the races than to conduct a business. As you say, if the aim were to maximize profits, or even just survive as viable businesses, they've got to be open to a degree of rationalization.

I sympathize with them. I really do. Look at my joining date. I wasted four and a half years after Betfair began still going racing to punt every day, because I loved the world that flourished between Lawson's abolition of the on-course tax in 1987 and the emergence of Betfair in 2000. I wanted it to go on for ever. I wish it had never gone away. But in the end, the bottom line said there was no mileage in it any more, and the future was staying home, ditching the expenses and hitting buttons in the gloom.
Report 1st time poster November 24, 2020 6:51 PM GMT
its like them boot sale sellers who have the same items on their stall at the same price for month afterb month,they just pay the entrance fee for the crack and a breckie off the burger van,Laugh
Report JML November 24, 2020 6:56 PM GMT
Why aren't course bookmakers entitled to the grants for the self employed?

Quite possible they were paying themselves in dividends in order to pay less tax.
Report Cider November 24, 2020 7:06 PM GMT
If that's the case, the article should have explained why they were unable to access the self employed grants. The technique usually involves enough wage to earn NI credits, so furlough would then be an option.
Report pablo-fanque November 24, 2020 7:09 PM GMT
you're showing 5/1 at each-way prices, someone walks up a ton win at 5's.  you look at the screen and it's 9.8 win-only here.

must be tempting ...

i imagine all bookies would say something like , "sorry sir/madam , 5/1 is the each way price, you can have 8/1 as a win only bet "

Report ribero1 November 24, 2020 7:23 PM GMT
Re the furlough,i would guess at least 90% of workers are self employed, we pay PAYE so the guys get Furlough but not aware of any others when i think about it, i know of some who have taken the bounce back loan.
Report onthejim November 24, 2020 7:42 PM GMT
Cider, the main reason was a lack of business premises/rates, virtually all the discretionary grants were only able to be applied if you paid business rates, the vast majority work and travel to the races from their home address IE paying only domestic rates. Also many were ruled out of the SEISS scheme for varying reasons other than someone suggested -not showing a profit-. Despite what many “sharp minds “ think on here , like many other small businesses the on course books have been treated shabbily by this government .
Report Cider November 24, 2020 7:47 PM GMT
So the access to the self employed grant is there? I know there was a quirk with directors not being able to touch the business (technically) if furloughing themselves originally. It's a bit unfair for the article to make out there was no support for on course bookmakers. They may have been creative in their arrangements, tax avoidance, keeping profits off the books et al, which meant they were unable to access the support available, which is a bit different. Whether we agree with it or not, an article with balance would have explained this.
Report hulk23 November 24, 2020 8:10 PM GMT
you're showing 5/1 at each-way prices, someone walks up a ton win at 5's.  you look at the screen and it's 9.8 win-only here.

must be tempting ...

i imagine all bookies would say something like , "sorry sir/madam , 5/1 is the each way price, you can have 8/1 as a win only bet "


indeed pablo, or perhaps point the mis-guided punter in the direction of a board displaying win-only odds rather than laying a win-only bet to each-way odds ...
Report RothmanMike November 24, 2020 9:56 PM GMT
Fortunately for the books, a very high percentage of folk who bet with the books on course have never heard of exchanges.
I know managers of high street bookmakers who are unable to navigate the exchanges.
This will always be the case for a variety of reasons.
With nobody on course , bookmakers are irrelevant at the moment.
They are an integral part of the racecourse scene however, but they will recover , no doubt.
PS Gary Wiltshire has attended every Chelmsford meeting for many months as a representative for Fred, despite doing
hardly any business at all. A round of applause would be appropriate as he will be getting sweet f a anything else.
Report ronnie rails November 24, 2020 10:04 PM GMT
No doubt I will get stick only go to 3 courses know

17 days York

15 days Cheltenham

4  days Royal Ascot

to tell you the honest truth I have seen many many books with the red lights flashing.
Report RothmanMike November 24, 2020 10:13 PM GMT
Like the guy who bought up the Hills on-course pitches (Sid Hooper ?), I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities for those
prepared to exercise risk and patience.
Report adge November 24, 2020 10:20 PM GMT
he's also bought all the ladbrokes and corals pitches too
interesting point being hill and ladbroke , corals said their racecourse pitches were just loss leaders
Report Kriskin November 24, 2020 11:48 PM GMT
On course bookmakers take the michael these days with their over rounds of 130% in a lot of races throughout the summer meetings.  As someone stated above they all go the same prices.  Not one of them willing to take a chance.  Bookmakers my ass.  More like an Accountant or Actuary.  Go to Perth and see the prices on offer.  The poor holiday makers not having a clue with their £5, £10 & £20 bets.
Report ItsMeSwaddle November 25, 2020 8:33 AM GMT
I think its that bit that I dislike the most Kriskin, its dishonest practice Imo to be to over 120%.

"Have to pay our expenses" - backward way of thinking, if thats the only way you can make it pay might as well all bet with Fred tote!
Report hulk23 November 25, 2020 9:20 AM GMT
there must be an unwritten rule, a gentleman's agreement, that they all go the same price.  if you need the business you have to either go bigger than the rest, or employ a bikini-clad clerk with massive jugs.
Report geoff m November 25, 2020 9:41 AM GMT
Dont know what the problem is.
Stay @ home sit on here no overheads/travel/accomodation/staff costs to moan tax bill
10 mins before race stick yer prices up.
you will bags more time on yer hands to study and may be take a view.
and yer can still lay 1 @ 5/2 and back it back @ 11/4 if yer wish.
Report ItsMeSwaddle November 25, 2020 9:50 AM GMT
Hulk, all slaves to the machine.

Cant go bigger, won't make any money when you press the big green button.

Dont see how they have a product anymore.

There is a tiny bracket Imo for huge punters maybe?/PC payers "The liquid on here is so bad now" If your patient surely you could still get a big bet on without collapsing the price to below what the course bookmaker was offering in the first place, unless its an extremely large one.

IE 2k at 5/2 on here.
9/4 with the books.
Need to maintain 3.3 or above to be no worse off than the 9/4 you'd receive anyway.
You'd get 2k on at 3.5 to 3.3 no dramas, maybe even 5k if you don't lump it all in at once.

As for anything more wanting to be punted, maybe there is a market for huge bettors?

Not exactly sure of the logistics but is it suicide long term for the books to be putting anything back on here? Realising 2% from the ring every time you do I guess.
Report ItsMeSwaddle November 25, 2020 9:53 AM GMT
Geoff I wonder how many are actually fooled that a high % of these folk are bookmakers in a traditional sense?

You have to feel sorry for the small % that actually could formulate a book if this place went dead for a day.
Report sparrow November 25, 2020 9:57 AM GMT
Racecourses to waive bookies fees when spectators return.

Greg Wood in The Guardian Newspaper.

On-course bookies who have been unable to work since racing resumed behind closed doors in June received some welcome news on Tuesday when Arena Racing Company and Jockey Club Racecourses, which operates 31 tracks, said that it will waive fees for bookies standing at any meeting where spectators are permitted from 2 December until at least the end of 2020.

The racing industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, initially with a two-and-a-half-month suspension from mid-March and subsequently with the loss of six months of revenue from spectators. No group has suffered more than the on-course bookies, however, with all but a handful having been unable to work at all since mid-March.

It will be a long road back for many, not least with attendances at racecourses likely to be restricted for several months to come, but the decision to waive daily fees will at least reduce their overheads and start to revive the betting ring.

“This will be hugely appreciated at what is hopefully nearly the end of the worst year ever for on-course bookmakers,” Ben Johnson, a leading ring bookie, said on Tuesday. “We are potentially talking about £80 to £120 savings for a day’s racing which will make a big difference to struggling firms. Every step now is one closer to normality.”

Mark Spincer, managing director of Arc’s racing division, said its move was part of the “process of making sure that racing fans and owners can enjoy the experience of coming racing again as soon as possible”. He added: “Equally, we will look at what we can do from January 2021 onwards to work with and support our colleagues in the betting ring.”

Racecourse executives spent Tuesday working through some of the detail of the government’s unexpected announcement on Monday that limited crowds will be allowed to return to sporting events from 2 December, and planning for every eventuality when the new tier system for England is announced on Thursday.

Racecourses in a tier 1 area will be allowed to admit up to 4,000 spectators or half their capacity, whichever is lower, from next Wednesday, while those located in tier 2 will be allowed 2,000 or half their capacity, again whichever is lower.

Racing is scheduled for Haydock Park, Ludlow, Kempton Park and Lingfield Park next Wednesday, while Market Rasen, Wincanton, Leicester and Chelmsford City have meetings the following day. Of those tracks, only Wincanton, Chelmsford City and Lingfield are in local authority areas which recorded fewer than 150 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people from 12 to 19 November. Sandown Park, which will stage the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase on 5 December, is also in an area with relatively few cases.

The potential return of at least 2,000 spectators at many tracks is a huge boost to the racing industry, alongside confirmation on Monday that betting shops in England can also re-open from next Wednesday, albeit with added restrictions in tier 3 areas including a ban on showing live events and the removal of chairs to stop punters lingering.

A time when racegoers can turn up and pay at the gate, however, is still many weeks, and probably months, away. While nothing can be confirmed as yet, tickets for all meetings seem certain to be advance bookings only, with checks on postcodes also likely to deter travel to meetings from tier 3 areas.

The “green zone” arrangement which currently separates participants such as trainers and jockeys from owners attending meetings is also likely to remain in place for some time yet, while individual local authorities could also raise objections to planned crowd sizes, or impose restrictions of their own.

Doncaster’s pilot scheme for the return of racegoers at its St Leger meeting in September was abandoned after a single afternoon at the insistence of the city’s director of public health, with the Covid-19 infection rate in the local area standing at 10.6 new weekly cases per 100,000 people.
Report hulk23 November 25, 2020 10:10 AM GMT
The fact that racing/racecourses, that depend on bookmakers as part of the raceday experience have not lifted a finger to provide financial assistance is a disgrace.

loper texted - apology in the post Blush
Report sparrow November 25, 2020 10:13 AM GMT
I agreed with loper in my comments and as a result the racecourses saw sense and decided to help. Well down loper and I'm sure all the bookmakers on here will praise him.
Report 1st time poster November 25, 2020 10:23 AM GMT
I MIGHT be wrong but i imagine the people racecoures will be intent on getting back on track 1st are not the ones bookmakers would like back 1st
Report know all November 25, 2020 11:06 AM GMT
I get there is a pecking order with pitch numbers but cant quite get my head around why so many turn up to poor midweek stuff? Yes you pay for a year/10 years or whatever but...

Its in a bookmakers blood they have to go its like a compulsion and a drug most enjoy it and they have a bit of power on that stand like a showman because if they dont go today its the day the first 2 favourites in every race get beat and they cant handle that and more important they really enjoy it
Report adge November 25, 2020 1:58 PM GMT
know all , it's more in fairness to giving loyal regular staff members a days wage than expecting to make a profit ourselves.
i would be pleased to thank all racecourses for their consideration but i've pencilled in my attendances from now on and expect my first day back in action to be lincoln day , the last saturday in march
Report ItsMeSwaddle November 25, 2020 2:09 PM GMT
Ok that’s fair enough but mid week wise that’s like setting a fresh lemonade stall up at the end of your street...employing someone to run it and being loyal to them....and then moaning when the business is not showing a profit because it’s not got enough customers. That’s not saying you personally moan.
Report loper November 25, 2020 3:08 PM GMT
Yes, Sparrow, we seem to have nudged a few elbows.

Even so, giving free entry to the few books that will be allowed on course this year, which is almost over, hardly features as an act of extreme generosity.
Report howard November 25, 2020 3:12 PM GMT
Don't think it will be worth a bookie going this year unless you enjoy it.
Report sparrow November 25, 2020 3:17 PM GMT
"said that it will waive fees for bookies standing at any meeting where spectators are permitted from 2 December until at least the end of 2020".

Will need this concession for much of next year.
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