LOOK SHARPE

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

LOOK SHARPE: Bookie Bashing – Just for the Sake of It…

Sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE writes…

WHEN I saw the headline on the Casino.org website a few days ago, I was shocked. But as I looked more closely at the story in question, my first thought was – I cannot understand why they have written it this way, other than to give themselves a dubious excuse to fill some space.

The headline, which appeared on April 26, was: ‘Former Betting Shop in England Becomes Illegal Marijuana Farm’. They did name the company involved, but I have no intention of doing so here.

Okay, a factually correct headline – but given that the premises in question were no longer hosting any kind of gambling activity, what acceptable excuse or relevance was there to mention its former usage in a story purely revealing a completely illegal operation with no gambling association whatsoever?

I went on to the website concerned, and posted this comment underneath the story itself: ‘What possible reason – other than that you are short of proper stories about the subject of online gaming – can there be to headline a story about a totally illegal drugs-related business, by referring to one of the previous usages, in the headline and copy?

I don’t understand why you ran this story at all, which is nothing to do with gambling/online gaming, and which could easily leave anyone who looks only at the headline, with the erroneous belief that a respectable gambling company was associated with an illegal drugs business.’

I also wrote to the reporter named as the author of the piece, making much the same point.

As of going to press, unsurprisingly I hadn’t heard back from either….maybe I should just write it off as yet another example of bookie-bashing, with betting-related things not being precisely what they may initially appear to be.

A prime example of another betting-related deception had come to mind earlier in the week, when I was watching a Derren Brown TV special, and immediately thought back to 2008 when the illusionist staged another televised show, which promised to reveal how he was operating a racing system guaranteed to predict winners.

Even the Racing Post wrote a preview piece about the claim. The programme focused on a young lady called Khadesha – who had been given four consecutive winning tips by Brown and was now going to bet Β£4000 on his next prediction.

On the show, Brown received her cash and duly stuck it on his latest tip.

Consternation, as it finished a well beaten 4th.

Khadesha was gutted – until, sensationally, Brown revealed that, in fact, he’d put her money, not on the runner she’d thought, but on the winner – and she was now Β£13,000 up as a result!

Or had he?

Brown later revealed how he’d done it. He and his team had initially contacted some 7000 random people, giving each of them a tip in a 6 runner race. But each runner’s name was given to a sixth of the contactees. This sixth then received another tip, and so on until Khadesha was the last punter standing – and, not un-naturally was left believing in Brown’s supernatural powers.

Which he didn’t actually have – he and his team had just backed every runner in the race so that even when Khadesha’s had lost he could convince her he’d really put her money on the winner.

Not only that, but everyone else in the ‘scam’ had been repaid from the show’s budget.

So Derren Brown is a fantastic illusionist – but he can’t predict winners. What he can do – or, at least, showed himself doing on camera during one of his shows, broadcast from Walthamstow greyhound track, was to persuade one of the tote staff to pay out winnings – on his losing ticket. And, even though I saw it, I have no idea how he did it!

GRAHAM SHARPE

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


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