It’s very easy to be cynical. Not all Estate Agents would sell their own Granny to the highest bidder, and not all Lawyers deliberately look for grey areas so that their bill based on an hourly rate grows to extortionate levels. I’m sure that the proportion of racing car drivers that can be deemed as being dull is the same as that amongst the Accounting fraternity.
And so when I settled down to watch the videos of an interview held with Skybet’s CEO, hosted on the StarSports website (http://www.starsportsbet.co.uk/interview-richard-flint/), I determined that I would listen with an open mind and put to one side my usual cynicism.
Despite my desire to keep an open mind, I’m afraid it wasn’t long before what I was listening to was causing my hackles to rise. Although the interview is certainly entertaining in the sense that it both captured and then held my attention, I was left feeling a little frustrated by the interviewer’s seeming lack of desire to really quiz what he was being told. Jeremy Paxman he wasn’t! It was clear that there was a list of pre-prepared questions, some of which were very good, but a bit of follow-up wouldn’t have gone amiss.
So what did Skybet’s CEO say that raised my eyebrow and tested my determination to keep my cynicism locked away?
To his credit, Richard Flint was quite open and unapologetic in explaining that Skybet’s business model is one that leaves no room for winning punters. I quote:
“If we think someone is going to lose money to us over the long run, of course we’re not going to restrict them.”
This statement comes just a couple of minutes before explaining that decisions are made as to whether an account is restricted or not based not on winning or losing but on whether the customer is regularly taking prices that shorten. In other words, if someone is savvy enough to bet value consistently, Skybet really don’t want to know.
The other thing that struck me from the above statement is that it runs completely counter to Richard’s line that he tows earlier in the interview that the company is fully committed to helping ‘problem gamblers’. At what point I wonder, do Skybet intervene and restrict the account of a serial loser?
It’s clear that Skybet is an ‘entertainment’ provider rather than a ‘bookmaker’. There’s no battle here with the punter. It’s a business looking to appeal to a mass market made up of folk who are 100% recreational gamblers (which is a subset of bettors far more likely to develop a problem habit, I’d suggest). Which is fine in itself, but it’s not a business model worthy of admiration (although with the company profit as it is, this is possibly not the outlook of a shareholder to whom a CEO has ultimate responsibility). My colleague here at the SBC described Skybet as running a ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ business model, which to my mind sums it up extremely accurately.
Portfolio Results from Monday 15th to Sunday 21st October
Down initially this month, then up, and now down again. I could do with things steadying out a little.
It’s been a rotten week on the horses and if it weren’t for Football Service 1 and Football Service 2 coming up with the goods, it really would be looking glum. These were the only two services of the nine that provided bets last week to make any profit. SFB did a remarkable job on Saturday however, with five winning bets from five. Impressive stuff.
‘Main’: ROI -19.58%, ROC -2.37%.
‘Starter’: ROI -15.31%, ROC -3.02%.
‘Broxchange’: ROI -5.76%, ROC -1.18%.
Individual Service Performance
The Accountant: Staked 28pts, -3.04pts.
Racing Service 1: Staked 8pts, -7.85pts.
Football Service 1: Staked 4pts, +1.84pts.
Football Lay Profits: Staked 48.65pts, -3.558pts.
Golf Insider: Staked 10.4pts, -10.4pts.
MVS (Lite): Staked 9pts, -3.36pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 7.5pts, -7.5pts.
Football Service 2: Staked 9pts, +6.29pts.
Racing Service 2: n/a
Racing Service 3: Staked 19pts, -15.7pts.