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Golden Boot or Top Goalscorer? What a bookmaker has been taking bets on will affect how they are settled and it seems few punters are happy. John Samuels of IBAS explains.

he greatest betting sporting event ever, the 2010 World Cup, has now finished with the skilful Spanish team becoming more than worthy winners. Despite many proac- tive initiatives on the part of IBAS, and the reported training aimed at height- ening football betting awareness by betting companies for their front line staff, the IBAS post bag was heaving during the weeks of July.


In fact since its inception, over twelve years ago, July 2010 was the busiest month ever for IBAS, with foot- ball disputes reaching record levels. Somewhat disappointingly the old perennials of wrong prices given, related contingency multiple bets being accepted in error, confusion between the Golden Boot Award market and Top Goalscorer market, and the industry standard 90 minute rule, were all to the fore regarding the nature of the disputes.

Just some examples were: bets placed on the day of the game of ‘Spain to win’ being settled as losers (the 90 minute rule is applied unless it is clear that the bet was for the selection (Spain) to ‘Lift the Cup’), bets on Villa to win the Golden Boot being settled as losers (it was Muller who won the award, with assists being taken into account) and bets on Muller to be top goalscorer being settled as a 4-way dead heat (excluding penalty shoot- outs there were three other players who scored the same number of goals as Muller).

Something, however, that possibly could not have been foreseen (hind- sight being a wonderful thing), with seemingly the Gods of football conspir- ing to cause havoc in the betting world, were the circumstances surrounding the double bet of Spain to win the Cup and Villa to be top goalscorer. In general 20/1 was a price that could have been obtained for a double on Spain to win the World Cup and Villa to be top goal scorer. This was on the basis that Spain were generally 4/1 to win the World Cup and Villa was gen- erally 8/1 to be top goalscorer. Many odds compilers judging that the related contingency part of the proposition (Villa being a Spanish player) causing the odds to be in the region of 20/1. So far, so good. But Villa was in a 4-way dead heat for top goalscorer, hence almost all bookmakers settled bets using their dead heat rules, and divided the total stakes by four before putting the altered stake onto the full odds (re. Tattersalls rules on betting: - Rule 7). The last time that there was a similar occurrence in the World Cup was in 1934!

Thus a £10 double at a price of 20/1 became £2.50 at 20/1, giving a return of £52.50p. The situation is worse if a lesser price for the double, say one of

Dead heat contributes to record IBAS month

16/1, was taken. The calculation, for a £10 double would then be £2.50 @ 16/1 giving a return of £42.50p. Many cus- tomers concluded that this was just another case of the bookmaker acting incorrectly, figuring that if they (the customer) had placed a single £10 bet on just Spain to win (at 4/1) they would have received £50.

At first glance, it could be said that it is perverse and somewhat unfair, that a ‘successful’ double bet should return almost the same or even less than a single bet on just one of the selections. A few bookmakers recognised the apparent injustice of settling the bets to their dead heat rules and offered an enhanced settlement. Many others, however, presumably after some delib- eration, kept the bet settlements in accordance with their rules. But, despite the apparent injustice, one can possibly see the logic why most bookmakers have settled the bets in the way that they have. First, the double bet was not wholly ‘successful’. One should remember Villa had to share first place with three others. One can possibly say that rather than the double bet being ‘successful’ it was, for the most part, ‘unsuccessful’. Customers trying to increase their winnings by combining two bets in a double obvi- ously risk the possibility of one or both legs of the double being unsuccessful. Therefore, if one of the selections loses, or dead heats, the bet becomes a loser or, in the case of a dead heat, the returns

are reduced. This eventuality becomes even more dramatic if one of the selec- tions has to share first place with three other contenders.

Second, would there be as much pub- licity and would some bookmakers rush to offer overly generous, possibly precedent setting, settlements if a similar scenario repeated itself in the more general and well known medium of horseracing. Take an example of a £10 double on a 6/4 winner and a 1 /2 winner, but the 1 /2 winner is involved in a two way dead heat. So, £10 at 6/4 returns £25, then £25 on a 1 /2 winner that dead heats is settled as £12.50 (half of £25) at 1/2 which returns £18.75p i.e. much less than the single of £10 @ 6/4 which returns £25! One to ponder.

John Samuels has spent over forty years within the betting industry, holding senior positions. Prior to joining IBAS, Samuels was the London and South of England security manager for one of the leading high street betting opera- tors. He also provides expert witness comment and advice to police, solicitors and barristers, on various issues related to the betting industry, particularly those concerning fraud and money laun- dering. He is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. For more information email or visit

David Villa – causing problems

The ABB’s five point campaign

Director Tom Kenny details the main areas of concern currently for the Association of British Bookmakers and how it plans to address them.

1. Lib Dem MP Don Foster has proposed to introduce legislation that forces bookmakers to pay unclaimed winnings into a fund that contributes to ‘grass roots’ sport. We think this proposal is flawed both in principle and in practice. In principle because unclaimed winnings belong to punters - not to the local bowls club - and in practice because the cost to bookmakers and the Treasury to implement it would cost many times more than the amount that could possibly be collected.

2. Other politicians including Labour MP David Lammy are scare-mongering about the supposed proliferation of betting shops on the high street, doing their utmost to make links with problem gambling and poverty. The fact is that far from an increase in the number of betting shops, if anything there has been a decline in overall numbers in recent years.

3.We continue our ongoing campaign for no deterioration in the terms and conditions under which category B2 gaming machines may be operated. The machines are legally recognised and protected as a form of entertainment in LBOs, and enjoyed by the vast majority of people who play them without getting into difficulties. Moreover, machines account for some 40 per cent of betting shop revenues, without which many marginal outlets would be forced to close with consequent loss of employment and tax revenue.

4. The Hundred Years War with horseracing drags on. Whilst the Levy is down by about £40m over the past three years, horseracing’s income from the sale of TV picture rights is up by about the same amount and its representatives are very coy about racing’s income from direct sponsorship of races. We call for the government to announce that the Levy will cease to be payable on a fixed date three years from now. Between now and that date our door will be open for the horseracing industry to come and negotiate with us a new and sustainable basis on which horseracing can be funded, and any contractual wrinkles be resolved.

5. Underpinning all of this we need to do a much better job of getting across the very positive story that the UK betting industry has to tell to politicians and the public at large. In the same way that the French are good at food and wine, and the Italians fashion, we Brits excel at operating socially responsible betting and gaming services. The industry employs 40,700 people, many of them in flexible employment and with few qualifications for other jobs. We pay more in tax than we make in profit. Rather than keeping the industry in suspense on B2 gaming machines and threatening to clobber us with even higher taxes, the UK government should be getting behind us as British economic success story.



BettingBusinessInteractive • SEPTEMBER 2010 37


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