AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT blog: The Leg Up

For those of us that weren’t born 3-0 up in the game that is life, betting has always been about dreams, hasn’t it?

That’s surely the only reason millions of us write out ‘life changing’ multiples and fill out our numbers for the National Lottery each week, at least it is for me. The dream of taking several leaps up that financial ladder most of us were born near the bottom rung of.

The well-heeled have always had options to increase their stash. If you have a few quid to play with you can invest in property, have a stockbroker on speed dial, dip your toe into futures, bet on commodities, financial spreads. Even better, most of that would be on tick too, if you have a blue chip background your credit is good for a play up of your inheritance. It has its perils though, it wasn’t the street cleaners jumping off buildings during the 1929 Wall Street Crash, they were just kept busy.

Not many of us remember that, or the old days when chaps ran around back alleys with clock bags or passed slips of paper in barber shops to take bets from the poor people. If you were caught you got your collar felt, if you had good family name and a credit account you could do your money in quite legally. It would be a bit farfetched to suggest history is in danger of repeating itself. However, it does seem that those with a sound financial and inherited footing feel the need to protect the paupers and save them from themselves.

Attempting to become wealthy purely by gambling isn’t to be recommended. But, there are those that have done it by both luck and many more that continue to do it by judgment. That’s why the rest of us keep trying too, but in reality most of us have little chance of making it pay. It’s one of life’s last great freedoms of choice, if you lose it’s your responsibility and until very recently all our own fault, nobody else’s. I lost plenty in my time, I did have to sell my skateboard one Saturday morning between Hackney and the first horse race, but did put that down to experience, I can’t remember if I got out on the day but never had the skateboard again, so guess I didn’t.

My salvation came from working with on-course bookmakers. I still lost my wages before I was paid from time to time, but mainly earned from the game via being paid. The old saying goes if you do something you love you never work a day in your life. That’s surely been true for me, working on course. Although I did put myself out there. I’ve always been very grateful for the fact I’ve never, at least since 1989, worked a day in my life.

I started writing about the betting ring for my local paper in the early 1990s, for free then. When the Internet became a thing I embarked on my ‘Tales From The Betting Ring’ blogs. One of my earliest was about Tiverton Races. The punchline for the original blog was that despite my curiosity, maybe we shouldn’t try and find out the identity of the gent who lost his estate that had been in the family since the Conquests on a horse called Grimace.

Back in the days of Grimace, the bookmakers would have done their business with the rich not the poor. I was in Ireland last week when someone was talking about inherited wealth and said, ‘There’s nothing more dangerous to the family funds than entrust them to someone born 3-0 up who believes they scored the hattrick.’

Isn’t it a bit the same these days? Of course, we all accept that some people do need and can get help with gambling problems. But generally, the people that know the value of money best are those that haven’t had much of it and what they do have was hard come by. They certainly don’t need telling what they can do with what they do have and are the last to cry foul if they lose.


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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