Latest Cases - November 2014

Take a free shot at £250,000...

14th November 2014

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • Make like a mercenary….
  • A free shot at £250,000….
  • On the grapevine….

Make like a mercenary….

You don’t need to be a great reader of a man’s mind to figure out that I’m not desperately keen on bookmakers. They serve a purpose. They provide a service – of sorts. But as a group – and this is well documented – I consider them a greedy, corrupt and crooked class of animal.

If you’re going to bet – and, lets’ face it, we’re not going to stop any time soon – I suppose the bookmaker is a necessary evil. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement. You wouldn’t want to take it to a prospective employer as a reference. But, given its bookmakers I’m talking about, it’s about as close to a superlative as I can drum up.

Poor prices, dishonored deals, broken promises, customer service hardly worthy of the name, cheating, lying, making the rules up as they go along, advertising prices and then refusing to lay them to punters with a decent record…. The case against bookmakers is long and deep and varied and one that I’ve made it made it my business to prosecute in this column across the years.

But there is a flip side to the coin. Bookmakers do have their uses – or, at least, they are open to being used by punters. And I have no compunction about mercilessly using bookmakers to my potential advantage whenever the opportunity arises or allows.

Bookmakers are fighting like weasels in a sack right now to win market share from one another. And that’s good for punters. The bookies are all trying to outdo one another on sweeteners – beneficial features of service that they hope will encourage you to open accounts and bet with them like a loyal little punter for many years to come. And that state of affairs creates a situation you can take advantage of.

For example, right now there’s a bookmaker I stop off at every Friday afternoon. I don’t do so to bet with them – though now and again I will if it suits. Instead I’m there on a mercenary basis to take advantage of what they are prepared to give away. I’m there to get my hands on a little regular something-for-nothing. I’m lining up for a free lunch….

A free shot at £250,000….

For many years Skybet was a bookmaking outfit I wouldn’t look twice at. On the sports I bet on their prices were always rock-bottom or close to it. They didn’t offer concessions. They didn’t do offers. In short they did little or nothing to win business. They were one of those bookmakers (Blue Square were another and look what happened to them) who thought that if they opened the doors that was all that was needed to fill the bar.

Somewhere along the line they woke up. And these days their business plan makes a point of giving punters an incentive to bet with them rather than the opposition. For example, in the big handicap races on Saturday you can almost guarantee that Skybet will now be one of the firms offering enhanced place odds – usually on more races than the competition, too.

I bet the big handicaps and that’s enough of a reason for me to hold an account with the firm. But that’s not what the big attraction is.

The really big draw is the chance to win £250,000 every weekend of the football season playing their Super 6 competition. Every Friday afternoon I log in to my account – where I haven’t had a single penny piece on deposit for at least 12 months – and have a go at predicting 6 correct scores on that weekend’s nominated football matches.

I haven’t got close yet. And maybe I never will. But I haven’t won the National Lottery either and I pay good money to play that twice a week. The bottom line is that I’m always in with a fighting chance of bagging that £250,000 (it takes 60 seconds of my time) and I don’t have to pay or bet a brass farthing for the privilege. It’s almost as sweet as free beer.

No doubt the powers that be at Skybet hope that punters who play will then choose to bet with the firm. But it’s not a requirement. Betting with them isn’t mandatory. To some extent they are relying on goodwill – just as punters rely on the same thing when they place bets in good faith with bookies – but goodwill is not always there when you need it. Is it?

If you fancy giving yourself a chance of winning £250,000 every weekend of the football season then follow my lead, make like a mercenary and  exploit the free opportunity on offer at Skybet. It makes no sense not to?

On the Grapevine….

What we hear and what we see in the betting industry this week….

  • Big Man Update – a couple of weeks back I told you how we’d been approached via email with free selections from some guy called ‘The Big Man’. The horses he provided us with were well and truly thrashed. We haven’t heard a peep out of The Big Man since. It seems as though Captain Oates has left the tent and ‘may be some time’….
  • Bishop bashing – it’s a great pity that a few more truly dreadful tipsters don’t know when to crawl out of the tent flap and make off into the wilderness never to return. Word reaches us this week that Martin Bishop is still alive and well and flogging his long-dead horse. Read all about him here. LM recently made the mistake of signing up. He tells us: ‘I paid £199 for Martin Bishops (best) PAYW service and the first three won. The next THIRTEEN have lost. He tips in Maiden Fillies Races on the all-weather which must be the Holy Grail for bookies…. must be the worst tipster ever.’ DL tell us he’s been trying Bishop’s free tips: ‘Terrible’. Enough said.
  • The Banned Millionaire Bookie – they say all publicity is good publicity but I have my doubts. Take Mr. Churchill, the guy behind the Bet Richard service. He makes a big play about being ‘The Banned Millionaire Bookie’. But he wasn’t banned from betting because he was a great picker. He was banned from racing because he was laying horses on the strength of information received from corrupt jockeys. Read all about it here and here. The funny thing is that Churchill almost seems to be bragging about his activities on the Bet Richard website. I don’t know if his Bet Richard service relies on inside information from young and naïve riders he has ‘groomed’ in recent times – he doesn’t say. But I don’t think I’d want to be doing business with a tipster who has a deplorable track record of cheating the market, corrupting young riders and besmirching the sport of racing. You have been warned off. 
  • Criminal investigations – we recently reported how bet365’s activities in China have attracted the attentions of law enforcement officials. Now William Hill are under investigation – suspected of illegal gambling activities in the Philippines. A spokesman from William Hill said the firm was working ‘to ensure that all services are covered to our normal standard’. We can’t help but wonder if the ‘normal standard’ of operation isn’t part and parcel of the problem in the first place? Time will tell.
  • ‘Free’ Bets & ‘Free’ Money – we all know how bookmakers love to promote offers revolving around ‘free’ bets and ‘free’ money which turn out to be nothing of the sort when you read the Terms & Conditions. For years it has seemed like bookmakers work from a dictionary which carries a different definition of the word ‘free’ than the rest of us are familiar with. But not to worry – after just a decade of punter complaints the Advertising Standards Authority has politely asked the betting industry to rethink its terminology. This is great news. Give it another 10 or 15 years of talking and faffing about and bookmakers might finally be required to stop hoodwinking punters with false claims and misleading promotions. Don’t bet on it though.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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