Shop betting diary: Stories from the front line.

I’d gone into one of the local(ish) BetFreds I frequent.  It was a cold, dark, and wet midweek evening, around 7.30.  The only people in there were myself, the lady behind the counter, and a chap sitting at one of the FOBTs in the corner.

I placed my bet and, spotting an opportunity to build on the rapport I’d already started to build with the clearly bored and wanting-to-go-home cashier, I thought I’d stop for a bit of a chat.  Naturally the conversation focused on betting.  I’d started by making a comment on it being so quiet and asking how the shop pays for itself, seeing as it seems it’s rare that anyone is actually in it!  The answer?  The FOBTs.  Apparently they more than pay for the shop overheads, which includes the various fees paid for television pictures for the racing (is it still SIS?) and suchlike, wages (although these were pretty crap – this lady with 35 years of working for some of the smaller independent bookies originally, then Hills, and now BetFred, explained she had had three wage DEcreases over the last couple of years or so), electric bills, etc, etc.  According to her, the bookies really aren’t that fussed about people walking in and having a bet in the old fashioned way; all they care about is the FOBTs.

It was clear this lady felt conflicted.  Whilst reluctantly admitting that these machines kept the lights on and herself in a job, she confessed to hating them.  She blames them directly for three suicides of people she knew – two customers and a friend.  She called them “evil”, that she sees people’s lives being destroyed by them, often with tragic collateral damage inflicted on others too.

Why am I writing about all of this?  Well, for me personally, although I knew these machines to be the crack cocaine of gambling, when I heard someone as level headed and steeped in experience of working in the betting industry talk like this, it really had an impact.  It genuinely did make me pause to think.  Everything she told me of the ‘corporate’ bookmaking world made it sound like a pretty grim place to be.

There’s a guy in the same shop, in his early 60s I’d guess, who also seems to see me as someone suspicious and up to no good.  No idea why!  Whilst I’ve been proactive in building a rapport with everyone in every shop I use, this chap always eyes me up suspiciously every time I go in.  It’s a slight concern, because the plan is to up my stakes considerably over time.  At present, I guess my bets are bigger than most, but then from what I’ve seen most don’t appear to be over about a fiver.  The biggest payout he’s had to pay me has been £86!  Perhaps I’m reading it all wrong and I’m picking up the wrong vibe.  Perhaps instead of going out of my way to strike up conversation whenever I see him I should play it cool.  All very puzzling though.  I mean, how can you not like me!?!

As for the betting itself, well, I hit a new profit high at the weekend when Adam Svensson won the PGA Tour golf event (see Monday’s Bet Diary post for details).  The electric form of the golf has arrived at a good time because since I had a four figure win with a Lucky 15 three weeks ago, the racing element has been pretty pitiful.  Doesn’t seem to matter what odds I’m backing at, none of the blighters are finishing in the frame.

Sunday evening was all good though.  The golf came through, and in addition a lovely winning bet using a Bookie Basher strategy that takes advantage of games that are likely to be relatively low scoring.  I’m betting across half time and full time scores/outcomes and so far things are going great. Managed to get close to 9/1 and 18/1 at the Exchanges on bets that should be considerably shorter, and the HT/FT results in the Jets/Patriots game added a very thick icing to a golfing cake.  A couple of other matches came close to providing the same positive results but at these prices, the strike rate doesn’t need to be that high to turn a very nice profit indeed.

Figures below, but do bear in mind that the ROI figures for DD/HH and the NFL bets are likely to be extreme until I get a lot more bets under my belt.

Until next week.

Golf ROI: 33.6%

Racing ROI: 63.51%

Football Coupons: 20.29%

NFL: 203.62%

DD/HH: 27.77%

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