BETTING ODDITIES: Transaction Declined

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


Simon Nott made some good points on how our increasingly cashless society will impact betting transactions at the racecourse in the future.

I’m afraid I’m as guilty as charged on this front – paying for coffees contactless etc.

In Sainsbury’s Kingston the other day, the chap in front of me actually asked the cashier ‘do you accept cash?’. Absolutely astonishing.

Being contactless at the races is a different matter though altogether. Firstly, there is not the insignificant irritation of having multiple gambling transactions appearing on your bank statements horse by horse, race by race, but also the ‘smell of the readies’ has always been very much part of the attraction of punting in the ring.

Goodwood welcomes back 5,000 members on Saturday – part of a trial crowd phase which also includes the World Snooker and County Cricket but with the stipulation that betting has to be contactless.

Many bookmakers have swerved the invitation including us at Star Sports who normally occupy one of the prime positions in the Goodwood ring.

Speaking to the Racing Post tonight Ben Keith explained: “I think it’s a dangerous thing to be joining in with and I don’t think there is any upside whatsoever. I don’t like the word trial. What does it lead to, and what’s the definition of success? I might sound cynical, but I think on-course bookmakers have a right to be. You can take whatever you want from a trial, and if they decide it’s a wonderful success and that cash betting is no longer needed I can see where that might lead.

“There are serious practical concerns too and I can’t stress how off-putting they are. Those machines do £45 on a tap, but how are you supposed to pay the money back on to it without a huge performance. Why would anybody bet like that when they could stand in the bar and bet through an app?

“People have been taking cash bets on racecourses for a hundred years and what’s changed? I feel that it suits the agenda of racecourses looking to give on-course bookies another kick and it will be a struggle for anyone to make money there anyway. There’s no upside, apart from for those who want there to be a downside.”


Roy Keane’s disdainful reaction to Aston Villa’s celebrations made for great TV viewing but you can hardly blame them for their exuberant rendition of Sweet Caroline given the Houdini act they pulled off. Such is the dysfunctional nature of the Premier League, with a ‘super league’ within the league, that the ambitions for many teams is no more, or no less, than staying up.


Fair play to York Racecourse – always seem to go the extra distance and last week was no exception when owners were provided with complimentary pizza and coffees.

Like all racecourses they must be suffering enormously since Lockdown but William Derby and his team still made an effort to look after the few racegoers that were allowed into the Knavesmire last week.


“The apartment would benefit from a refurbishment” is usually estate agent talk for “a complete wreck”.

Fair enough, we all know the drill.

But you surely don’t expect that small print when you part with £25 million?

That’s the case though with a London flat that once belonged to Artemis Onassis on Grosvenor Square in Mayfair (walking distance to Star Sports Mayfair surely the KEY selling point?).

Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Wetherell, said in the sale release literature. “The apartment would benefit from a refurbishment to provide the latest specification and interior dressing, but such a makeover could add an additional £1,000 per square foot to the value of the property.”


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.

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