If your household is anything like mine, I’ve got five bucks that says your kids now know a hell of a lot more than they did about gambling before this summer of cricket on Channel Nine.
This year’s cricket coverage became one of the most effective vehicles for obsessive gambling the nation has seen.
I am a long way from being a wowser, I enjoy the odd punt and am a frequent and enthusiastic visitor to the greyhounds, always with the kids in tow. But the nature of the outlays being offered on Nine through its new commercial betting partner has not only been incessant, but a bit of an insult to everyone’s intelligence, as so much of it was framed around the kind of moronic chance-based exotic betting which is about as sophisticated as punting on the time-honoured two flies up a wall.
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By the end of today Australians will have spent just under $800 million on an event which lasts for just over three minutes.
According to research by the financial modelling firm IBISWorld, $377.7 million will be spent on fashion and fascinators, booze and canapés, as well as travel and accommodation for those making it to down to Melbourne. Another $404 million will be spent directly on gambling, be it a couple of bucks in the office sweep or the big end of town plunging tens of thousands on their favourite nag.
The total amount: $781.7 million. An extraordinary amount of money by any measure.
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“I don’t know how they take those hits and keep going. I don’t know how they take the big marks. And I really don’t know what I’m doing standing here on the home turn at Flemington while a herd of thoroughbreds thunders towards me.
“But I do know what punters want. You want to bet with a nice, clean-cut handsome young bloke who doesn’t look like one of the gnarled old bookies of yesteryear with a pork pie hat and an old-school leather satchel…”
Ahem. We interrupt this crudely paraphrased Tom Waterhouse ad to bring you news of the glamourisation of the sports betting industry, a clever marketing trend which is making gambling ever more appealing to the impressionable young.
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A mate of mine has a nephew at private school in Sydney. Apparently, many of the kids are betting on the dogs, with one boy losing $1200 in a single day.
Some might think the loss of $1200 is just deserts for a rich little twit with too much cash on his hands. I think it’s just one more sign that sports betting is out of control in Australia.
Here’s another one: an Adelaide businessman recently rang SA Senator Nick Xenophon’s office in a bid to warn others about online gambling during AFL matches. He’d lost $85,000 in three weeks after being enticed by one of those gambling ads that run relentlessly during televised games.
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Is match fixing and sports corruption a big enough problem to suggest that offenders should be thrown into jail for up to 10 years? You bet!
There have been one or two major betting-related incidents in Australian sport. Personally, I was closely involved when Shane Warne and Mark Waugh got themselves involved with the now notorious “John the bookie” back in 1998.
But for me, the issue actually goes back further to 1990 in my days at the National Basketball League, when I first started thinking about and studying the issue.
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Three days after the election and punters will no doubt be biting their nails until the independents strike a deal with Gillard or Abbott to form a government. We’re still holding millions of dollars on the election result, and they could be waiting a week or so to be paid out on a head-to-head bet.
What’s clear is that punters who backed a hung parliament at $6.00 will be among the only ones celebrating at this stage.
With the wash up then showing about 73 seats in the bag for Labor and as many as 73 for the Coalition, punters didn’t take much of a rest after a late night awaiting a result on Saturday.
From a look at the betting markets, punters seem to have lined up with pundits to call this week a nil-all draw.
While the campaign descended into a Fromelles-style bloodbath, the negativity of both sides also stagnated the head-to-head betting market and we’ll go to the polls with Labor paying $1.28 to win, and the Coalition pegged at $3.60.
You’ll remember that last week saw Julia Gillard’s campaign finally stem the haemorrhaging that saw her odds on next PM drift out to $1.62, which was as bad as they got under Rudd. Once Sportingbet took over $400,000 on Labor in a week including a bet of $200,000, they were always going to head into the election as favourites.
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Cast your mind back a week punters, and remember when barely a soul backed Labor for an entire fortnight of the campaign and the Coalition were tipped to become favourite by the weekend.
But regardless of how hard Tony Abbott has pedalled, the Coalition’s sprint toward the finish has not been enough. The Labor ship has righted itself and punters must reckon that will be enough for them to sail back into government.
This week, the high rollers have moved in with big bets on Labor, and have backed them into strong favourite to win the August 21 election. And although we’re still a week and a half from the big day, we know from experience that once these bets are in the result is largely beyond question.
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There’s no doubt that last week was a long time in politics for the Labor camp.
A better-than-expected debate performance from Abbott last Sunday had punters swarming behind the Coalition when I wrote my previous column for The Punch on the Tuesday – although some of your comments questioned whether he’d really cause the government any trouble.
By Friday, 85 percent of the money we’d taken was for the Coalition, causing them to shorten up dramatically from $3.85 into $2.50. All the chatter from the talking heads declared Labor’s campaign dead, buried, cremated following a series of damaging Cabinet leaks and the Monday Newspoll had Abbott neck and neck with Gillard.
In the hours following Sunday night’s Leaders Debate, a strange thing happened: punters started backing Tony Abbott for the first time since the election was called last Saturday.
In doing so, they not only pre-empted yesterday’s Newspoll but confirmed most of the analysis about the Opposition leader’s performance in the papers: it could’ve been a lot worse.
As someone who has been taking bets on elections for years, it was a hard to imagine a bigger game changer in a betting market than when the ALP changed jockeys just weeks out from this election campaign.
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News broke yesterday afternoon that the New Zealand bowls’ four (yep, bowls) tanked a game in the Asia-Pacific championships in Malaysia last month.
Reports state that as a result of NZ’s poor performance, the Canadian side failed to progress to the championship playoffs. One Black Jack has been stood down as a result despite denying the match-fixing allegations.
No word on how the NZ economy has reacted to the news or if Prime Minister Key is donning his whites in preparation of a statement from the Blockhouse Bay bowling green.
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@mooks83 sophisticated response. Think the kids parents saw it differently
More class from 9's footy show, lampooning a baby that allegedly looks like Sterlo with a pic swiped from Facebook http://t.co/BGoYP6Pn68
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