AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT: A Good Bet for Racing

It’s Safer Gambling Week and, once again, despite the good intentions and the undoubted need in some quarters, it all brings into focus that racing as an industry is largely funded from a source it appears to be ashamed of: people betting and losing.

That’s a perilous place to be, when an industry feels uncomfortable promoting and supporting the hand that feeds it. It’s not hard to see why, bookmakers stopped being bookmakers a few decades ago. Evolving from what would have been a handshake and gentleman’s agreement, the bookmaking industry in the twenty-first century has gone down an easy pickings, heads we win tails you lose route embracing slot machines, on-line casinos and restricting anyone that doesn’t do their dough.

Public opinion, spurred on by a powerful political lobby is not helped by some bookies who are still being fined for targeting the vulnerable and addicted.

That’s a public that actually like a punt, Footballs Pools still exist and used to be huge, there’s a whole generation who made Bingo a multimillion-pound industry and the country has embraced lotteries of all types, not least the one the national one. The National Lottery suffers from no stigma, after all, it funds good causes and doesn’t appear to have been the cause of any problem gambling tragedies.

What racing needs is a bet that looks more like the latter. One that attracts people to show interest in the sport when previously they had little. One that will be a boost to viewing figures on what is after all a sport that enjoys national coverage on a major channel. One that attracts the big-staking syndicates as well as ladies betting with pin money. One that would see a punter having a single line landing half a million quid making the front page of the red tops, wouldn’t that be something?

We had one, it was called the Scoop 6. Letting it slip from the heights is reached was an absolute tragedy for racing. Maybe that particular horse has bolted, for various reasons, but surely it can be emulated. One absolute imperative to such a bet would be that it’s supported by ITV Racing. They already have their free ITV 7 bet which has proven very popular, so why not stick with that, then enhance it.

Part of the popularity of the Scoop 6 was that it was an each-way bet. Even those having multiple perms were chasing a realistic profit with just the place part of the bet, with the win side, literally the jackpot. The same went for small punters too, as with the placepot there was the potential of an afternoon’s interest for a couple of quid as long as the place part was still running. Let’s keep that, let’s also keep it being run by the Tote because it should be a Tote bet and all inclusive. Run by the Tote but for this bet only, supported by the entire industry, that is horseracing, betting and media. Make it so that it’s given maximum publicity across all platforms, available to be bet on what ever app you use, racecourse you are attending, bookies you visit or call.

The bet kept to the Scoop 6 format, with a bonus fund, but over the seven televised races, by nature will be mostly competitive, but not messed around with to make it impossible. If one week happens to have few uncompetitive races in it, let it roll, let plenty of people win it. Then start again, not with £10,000 but £100,000 confident that the players will be there to cover it, a national racing bet. Encourage work syndicates, professional syndicates, individual players. When there’s a rollover scream it from the rooftops, when it’s won use a megaphone too.

The interest from those National Lottery playing punters could be whipped into a frenzy if the entire industry got behind it. Yes, it would take some cooperation but to my mind it would be hugely beneficial for all. The number of new racing fans created could, and if promoted correctly, would be huge. The big win for the small outlay great news story is always just around the corner and racing and betting could be seen in a positive light again. Not to mention the Levy money for racing that a successful Saturday bet would generate. Can’t we get it done for the good of horseracing, where there’s a will there’s always a way.

Who’s in?


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

Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle 



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