14 September, 2019

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

BETTING ODDITIES blog: No scratchcard sur-prizes !

BETTING ODDITIES: In his latest weekly Monday blog, DAVID STEWART takes a sideways look at some of the stories making the news in the betting world and beyond.

DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.


Yesterday I bought a National Lottery scratch card. I know, I know, forgive me father for I have sinned and done a very muggy thing but ….

I had no intention of buying one until the guy in front of me bought 20 (yes, twenty) £5 cards at the checkout.

I’ve never seen anyone buy so many in one batch and I suddenly had what I thought was a seminal moment when the thought flashed through my mind. “Life’s a bitch at times and I bet he’s missed the winning ticket.”

Admittedly overcome by a dose of schadenfreude I made my mind up that the NEXT ticket was a winner and parted with £5.

I would love to say this story has a happy ending but let’s just say the penny I used to scratch off the numbers with is now worth more than the card (50% share to any reader who spots I have made a mistake and it is a winner after all).

I had a closer inspection of the ticket. “Overall odds on winning a prize are approximately 1 in 3.45” it claims.

“A Prize”, in lottery lingo also includes getting your money back….. £5. But when has a non runner ever been classed as a winner in betting?

On the card I bought, a staggering 1,783,883 return just your stake as the ‘prize’.

Take those 1,783,883 tickets out of the 14,864,950 print run of game 1095 and your odds of winning a prize (of more than your stake) are, by my calculations, a less attractive 1 in 5.

It’s semantics but in my book a prize is NOT getting your money back.

More alarming though is that this online resource https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/games/gamestore/scratchcards#current-scratchcards shows that all the top prizes have already been won on the card I bought.

I literally bought a ticket for a raffle where the top prizes had already been won 🙁

I’m a mug of rollover proportions.


It’s very easy to show ‘recency bias’ with great sporting encounters but even allowing for that I thought last night’s Rafael Nadal v Daniil ­Medvedev US Open Final had just about everything in terms of drama and tennis to a standard I’ve rarely seen.

Bleary eyed, I started making notes of the key points in the fifth set but gave up. If you watched it, you’ll know what I mean. Medvedev, two sets and a break down went favourite momentarily in the final set before Nadal clinched his fourth title at Flushing Meadow.

The real highlight though was post-match and the way the two players conducted themselves and the sportsmanship displayed. The poker face finally came off Medvedev snd what a great guy he came over as. He even managed to woo over a partisan New York crowd which is never easy. Surely the first of several majors will come for Medvedev, sooner rather than later?

The post match interviews were handled with class, no silly questions, no shouting or ego from interviewers just the right questions which allowed the heroes to be centre stage and the crowd and viewers to get full value.

Medvedev watched, with the crowd, a highlight reel of Nadal’s 19 Grand Slams and came up with a great line “I wonder what they would have showed if I had won?”.

I’ve never seen Nadal as emotional. The guy is just superhuman – as this clip earlier in the tournament proved – surely him getting a ball in the commentary box from such a distance is odds-against, surely even for Nadal ?


I’m looking forward to settling down to watch the latest #BettingPeople interview from Simon Nott with Claude Duval CLICK HERE. Having also worked on The Sun in the Fleet Street days it’ll be interesting to see how many stories the Punters Pal recalls.

Technology changed the newspaper industry overnight but the noise and excitement of deadlines approaching, scoops over rivals and printing presses running in the same building was simply electric.


Talking of The Sun, have you been mis-sold a solar panel? Many have and are apparently not happy with the Financial Services Ombudsman who has had 2,000 complaints whilst Barclays Bank are setting aside £38m to deal with potential claims. STORY CLICK HERE

Punters are unhappy that they are not receiving the returns promised on energy savings.

I just wonder whether there’s a simple explanation….. the sun doesn’t shine enough ?

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.

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