There's a long list of people out there who'd fork out serious money for the answer to that question.
Bookmakers and their many representatives...betting industry professionals... the people who make a living providing punters like you and I with information, services and betting products... tipsters... touts... talking heads in the media... journalists and pundits... they all want to know who the Judge is.
But don't get me wrong. These people don't want to shake my hand. They don't want to buy me a drink. Far from it... their intentions are of a distinctly unfriendly nature:
But right now the bookies, the scammers, the crooks, and all the other lower forms of betting industry life that prey on the naïve, the gullible and every other punter going toe-to-toe with the bookies are simply whistling in the dark. An anonymous enemy is a pretty difficult target to get to grips with. And I want to keep things that way. I'm sure you'll understand.
The industry insider goes ‘Native'
Whilst bigwigs and players in the betting industry speculate on my true identity... little do they know that I walk openly amongst them on a daily basis.
That's right. I'm no outsider just looking in. My power, my knowledge, my insight, my contacts and my understanding of the betting world and how it works are a direct result of the many years I've spent working within that very industry.
Not only do I actively work within the bookmaking industry – with multiple firms in a variety of consultative roles – but I also police the entire betting industry beat in my role as a commentator for the betting industry trade press.
Insiders simply don't come any more ‘inside' than me. I work behind enemy lines – using my privileged ‘all areas' access and a Rolodex of contacts and informants to seek out, observe and report exactly how the industry really works and exactly what's going on.
So why am I biting the hand that feeds?
Why am I turning my back on the industry that's kept me in hot dinners for the last 20 years?
Why am I changing horse in mid-race and choosing to serve the punter rather than the industry?
It's quite simple really. The betting industry has always been a ‘job' for me – and nothing more. It's been a way to earn a good crust and to keep the wolf from the door.
I'm not one of these betting industry types that come to see it as some sort of calling or vocation. At heart I've always been – and will always remain – a punter first and foremost. It was my interest in betting that attracted me to the industry in the first place. I thought I'd enjoy it.
And there are times when I have enjoyed it. I've met some good people... had some good laughs... got some good memories.
But work in the betting industry long enough – especially if you're a punter at heart – and you're going to get jaundiced, weary, disillusioned and demoralised by the things you see... by the way it really works... by the difference between the perception and the reality...
Here's what I mean....
Take a look at all these bookmaker advertisements on the TV right now.
Most of them have got some kind of cheeky chappie or gruff diamond geezer type trying to sell you up on the idea that the bookmaker is some kind of ‘lifestyle' choice and betting some kind of ‘recreational' activity.
It's implied you will win. Nobody ever mentions the possibility that you can – and probably will – lose. In this dreamland scenario your stake comes to represent the price you pay to play. The money you hand over is what it costs to enhance a sporting event, enjoy yourself or ensure a bit of the Ray Winstone bookie persona rubs off on you.
It's almost as though having a bet – win, lose or draw – is the height of cool in and of itself. There nothing we can do about Tiddles! Have a cheeky bet, geezer! It matters more when there's money on it, mate! Bet naaaahhhhhh!
In these ads the bookie presents himself as your friend... the cushty barrow boy... the cheeky chappie helping you out by taking your money off your hands... getting your bets on... making sure you're ‘cool and the gang' down the boozer with the other geezers... it's all nice and touch feely...
What they don't want you remembering is that bookmaking is a hard-nosed business – one of the hardest-nosed businesses there is. The people behind these firms – and the adverts – are single-minded, organised and ruthlessly committed to making your money their money. The bookmaker is not in the business of making friends or enhancing your image down the pub. He's in the business of emptying your pockets.
And he will throw every resource he can at meeting that objective – money, manpower, cutting edge technology, software, intelligence gathering, database interrogation and slick TV ad campaigns... whatever it takes.
The bookmaker is not your cheeky friend. Give him even a sniff of an opportunity to send you home without the rent money and he will take it. When you bet you are going to war with the bookie. It's about winning or losing your hard-earned money. There is nothing ‘recreational' about it.
Today, more new punters are being attracted into betting than at any time in history. The bookmaker is their enemy – and those punters need to be made aware of it if they are to avoid becoming lambs to the slaughter.
The industry press doesn't want to know
Like the mainstream media, the betting industry press daren't say a word against the all-powerful bookie.
It daren't report on the real stories. It daren't reveal how the bookmaker really works. And it certainly isn't interested in informing and educating the ordinary punter about the methods and tactics he should be using to counter attack the bookmaker.
The industry press, just like the big dailies, the sporting press and the big Internet sites, is totally and utterly dependent on bookmaker advertising and patronage to survive.
For these guys criticising the bookmaker is to cut their own throats. So they don't do it. And the bookmaking industry is free to behave however it likes without ever being called to account or challenged. The betting industry press exists to slap the bookie on the back, report the good news, play ball and to sweep anything untoward or critical under the carpet.
They don't want to report on the shysters, the conmen, the sharks, the crooks or the frauds either. The industry press is never going to front up, come clean and acknowledge that areas of the betting industry are cesspools of criminality and fraudulence.
Why not? It's because it makes the gambling scene look bad. If people start hearing too many stories about punters getting ripped off, cheated, fleeced, screwed and shafted left right and centre then gambling might start to get seen in a bad light.
And the bookmakers don't want that. They're making more money than ever before. They don't want to see any unhelpful stories appearing in the press. They don't want do-gooders and legislators sitting up and taking notice.
No matter if highlighting these issues is the first step to eradicating them. No. Forget that! Let's just let sleeping dogs lie. Let's just let things carry on as they are. That suits the bookie man. And it suits the shysters.
It's high time I blew the whistle
But it doesn't suit me, my friend. I've been silent for too long.
The mainstream betting press isn't interested in the stories I want to write, the information I want to share or the advice I want to give. It doesn't want to know about anything that will help the punter.
There's no benefit to the mainstream industry press in revealing what really happens within the industry. There's no mileage in exposing how things really work on the inside. There's no payoff for blowing the whistle on the tricks and techniques the industry uses to separate punters from their money.
Betting has exploded over the last decade. There are more punters than ever before. But nobody serves their interests. The big media players are all in bed with the bookie and seem prepared to pretend that the crooks and the conmen are not hiding behind the curtain.
Well, that's their business. But I've seen enough. I don't like the way things are going. I don't like the road down which many thousands of new and unwitting punters are being headed. And I want to do my bit to put things right, get things straight and say it how it stands.
I want to help the punter get smarter and more clued-up – in the way he sees the industry, in the way he thinks and in the way he bets.
I'm the kind of guy who likes to see a fair fight. I don't like to see the big guy, the bully or the bruiser having all the edges and all the advantages. That's why I've decided to go public with Punters' Verdict. It's time we punters squared things up with the big guy – and start handing out shots as good as those we've been taking all those years.
Court is now in session!