Mr B: How To Get Your Bets Accepted

| February 2, 2015 | Reply

A big hello to all Betting Rant readers…

Before I introduce myself I just want to say thanks to Matt for inviting me to write a few articles for Betting Rant. I am not sure where this journey is going to take us or how long it will take us. What I am sure about is that we will all learn something along the way. It is my intention to give you an insight into what it’s like to work for one of the ‘Big Three’ Bookmakers today (from both sides of the counter) and also to touch on my own punting angles.

So a little about myself…… well you can call me Mr B. I am 55yrs old and have worked in the betting industry since starting out for Ladbrokes in 1981.

In those days Ladbrokes put all Trainee Managers into ‘Settling School’. This meant two weeks in a classroom environment learning all about odds and fractions, how to make a ‘Book’ and how to manually settle bets. It’s all computerised today of course, but those early days have certainly benefitted me in my own personal battle with the bookies.

What I do remember about those two weeks is listening to the 1000 Guineas on the blower and cheering Lester home on Fairy Footsteps for Henry Cecil. Lester had been involved in a stalls accident a week or two previous in which he had nearly lost an ear! If you watch the race you can see that he is still bandaged up for the Guineas.

Since 1981 I have worked for all of the ‘Big Three’ bookmakers, and two independents. Today, I am a Shop Manager for one of the Big Three, but have extra duties and help to run a district of over 20 shops in the north east of England.

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For my first article I want to talk about ‘getting on’. I am hoping to give you some advice on the best way to get your bets on in a bookmaker’s without being restricted and why we as an industry monitor certain customers.

Getting your bets accepted whether online or in-shop can be a pain. Whether you bet in £100’s or £10s and £20’s I am sure you have all experienced having your stakes reduced or being knocked back altogether. I myself have had online accounts closed recently with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power.

Ladbrokes closed my account after firstly reducing my maximum stake to £5 but then having the decency to telephone me to say “instead of messing you about we will close your account Sir”. Fair enough, they are in business to make money and my account was unprofitable.

Paddy’s were a different kettle of fish altogether. They did not even advise me that my account had been closed. I logged on one day to my account and after clicking on my selection and entering my stake (£20 each-way) and got a pop-up saying “Maximum Exceeded” or something like that.

I telephoned their Customer Service line to ask what the problem was, to be told that in six months I had won £1200 from them and that by taking their early prices I am beating the SP more often than not so I must be arbing. I argued to no avail that it was their Odds Compilers who put up the prices and I bet with whoever is best price on my selection. Anyway ACCOUNT CLOSED! Oh and by the way, for all the success I’ve had I am not an arber!

In terms of actually succeeding in keeping your accounts open online, Matt has previously written a great article on the subject so I’ll not go over old ground (you can read it here.)

But of course being a Betting Shop Manager, I think I am best placed to offer you advice on getting on in-shop.

Through the computerised till systems we now have in betting shops (EPoS) it is so simple to monitor any customer’s business these days and set up a log of all his or her bets and know at a glance all stakes, returns and profit or loss to the company.

We do this for two reasons. Firstly, as a Shop Manager I have pre-set turnover targets for the year. If I do not hit that planned turnover then my boss wants to know why. It could be that for one reason or another one or two regular customers do not bet in my shop anymore. Maybe they no longer live near my shop or maybe they have ‘Self Excluded’ themselves from my shop due to their betting getting out of hand. We therefore log any customer who has a turnover of £1000 or more per week whether they are a winning customer or not. That way if they do go missing and my turnover takes a dive then I have a valid excuse to my boss as to why I am not hitting my targets.

The second reason for ‘logging’ a customer’s business is of course that he or she is a “shrewdie” and their business is putting a hole in shop profits. The Traders in Head Office have access to any information available in the shop system and can tell, with a bit of digging, if any customer is subscribing to a tipping line, backing Pricewise selections or maybe placing shrewd each-way bets on certain races. They can and do instruct shop staff to restrict a customer’s stakes and on occasions we are required to telephone Head Office to ask permission to take certain customer’s bets before putting them through the till.

So what can you do as a successful punter to get around any restrictions?

My first bit of advice is that if you find yourself restricted in a shop, please do not become abusive to the staff – they are only acting on instructions from higher up the chain. To be honest you really want to have the staff on your side. If they like you they may just turn a blind eye and accept the odd bet from you… so be polite to the staff!

Look for areas where there are several shops grouped together. That way if you can’t get on in one shop you might be able to get on around the corner. OK, in some cases if you are ‘logged’ in one shop you may find yourself logged in all that company’s branches in the area.

Keep your stakes realistic. Do not expect to get £200 on one of Pricewise’s selections on a Saturday morning. We get a list of Pricewise selections every Saturday morning and a guide as to the maximum we can lay to any one customer. If I am told £25 per customer then that is all you will get on in my shop. If I were to take £50 from you then I will be in trouble from the Traders and it will be passed on to my Boss for disciplinary action… I could be facing a warning of some sort for not following company procedures. So again, don’t become abusive to the staff if you can’t get a ton on at 16/1!

If you are wanting a lumpy bet on try looking for any new starters in the branch. OK this may be a tad underhand but it is something I have done before. I am not proud of it as the new member of staff may have got into trouble… but remember: it’s a war out there!!!

One area of betting I like to exploit is ‘bad each-way races’ but the advice below can apply to anything really (more about bad each-way races at a later date)…

Each day my company will put up a list of all the bad each-way races for that day. That way any shrewd customer coming in wanting £50 each-way on the 5/1 second favourite in the 3.30 at Ascot can and will either be offered WIN ONLY or have his stake reduced.

One way around this is to simply not put the race time next to your selection. This would have been frowned upon pre-EPoS days on a busy Saturday afternoon but today it is not an issue. You could even write the odds on your slip yourself, thus saving the Cashier the task of finding your selection on the staff monitors and maybe being alerted to the fact that you are backing in one of the days bad each-way races. Of course you must ensure you put the correct odds on your slip. The computerised tills will not accept your 5/1 if your selection has just gone 9/2!

Get to know the limits in-shop if you can. My company has a chart which lists the maximum stake I can accept at any price before I need to ask the Traders for permission to accept the bet. Some bets I can accept without seeking permission and only require me to notify the Traders after I have taken the bet. The majority of bets do not require any notification to the Traders of course. Do not be afraid to ask the Manager what you can have on before he phones your bet in. He may not be prepared to give you that information… but he just might if he takes a liking to you.

Betting large stakes at early prices will alert the Staff to your betting activities, so try not to bet in one shop for any length of time.

When betting on football always use the football coupons where possible… yes we can still monitor your bets but it is more difficult, especially on a busy Saturday afternoon as we do not have any handwriting to rely on when checking back through the system.

If you want £200 on a match put £100 on a coupon and get your mate to write out the same bet and give it to another cashier if he can.

I was in a Corals shop a while ago wanting £100 on a 12/1 shot on the horses. Even for me that was a big bet but they were standout with the price and I fancied it strongly. Only the Manager was on duty at the time. I wrote the selection on the betting slip, wrote £100 win and after checking the screens wrote the 12/1 next to the horse’s name.

I approached the counter and handed over the bet to the manager… I remember his name was John. He picked up my betting slip, looked at me and laughed. “You are joking” he said. “Oh what’s up?” I replied”. “You can have £25 on at 12/1 and that’s all”. “Ok” I said… “but how much can I have in your Roulette Machines”, I asked. “Oh anything you like” was his reply. And this is what is wrong with betting shops today. More about gaming machines in my next offering to Betting Rant.

Thank you so much for reading and please feel free to ask any questions. Oh and by the way my 12/1 shot finished second!

Mr B

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