Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pitfalls Still There for Punters

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pitfalls Still There for Punters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

Do racing's administrators really care about the punters? Doug Moscrop, Racing Journalist of the Year, expresses his doubts.

IT would appear punters have never had it so good. More information than ever before. Online betting and the ability to lay horses as well as back them, and even bet in running if you are able to watch the race on television. First impressions are usually the best but this is not the case with an ever-changing betting world that now also uses technology to decide starting prices.

Changes are not always for the better. Those of us who have been around for a while often frown upon them, especially when change is for changing's sake.

The British Horseracing Board policy of more racing on an already overcrowded fixture list might be good news for owners, trainers and jockeys, but sadly not for the betting public. More opportunities, I'm afraid, to lose money.

Despite betting shops having cleaned up their act in terms of comfort and cleanliness, the harsh truth is that it's a no-go area for anyone who seriously wants to try to make a profit. The odds are still stacked heavily against them. Entry should carry a health and wealth warning.

You need a supply of aspirin as relief for the inevitable headaches caused by so much information being thrown at you from all directions. Apart from the daily menu of horseracing, which is considerable until the clocks change again, there are dogs chasing mechanical hares all hours of the day, and if you just want to be involved with pot luck, virtual racing for computerised horses and dogs, daily draws, and fruit machines.

And it's sad when I hear betting shop managers revealing a significant turnover for virtual racing and fruit machines, comparing favourably with what they take over the counter in bets on the real thing.

One has to question the mentality of the punter who strays away from an overdose of actual racing and ends up being an addict of results determined by machines.

I suppose the idea of betting on anything - even two flies going up a wall - is nothing knew, but for whatever reason one goes into a betting shop, arguably you are spoiled for choice and are being caught in the web of the big spider we call the bookmaker. …

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