I thought I’d start this blog with a little bit about what I’ve been up to recently, and a little about my experiences. This way, I trust you’ll get to know me a little better and appreciate a little more about the larger picture in betting, and how people can exploit certain scenarios.
This brings me onto the “Betting Syndicate“. This is a true story, yet certain details and facts are omitted for obvious reasons.
The Job Advert
Between jobs, I read an online job advertisement for a mobile bookmaker. Now being In the UK, It was quite clear that anyone pursuing this line of work would need to be licensed to operate. Intrigued, I applied and sent off my CV.
Around a week later, I received a call asking me to view a couple of videos about the syndicate, how they operated, and what they expected of their bettors. It looked very professional, and after I’d seen the videos, I was Invited to ask any questions.
What I saw looked too good to be true. What would you think if you were told:
- The Syndicate will buy you a brand new phone.
- You’ll be supplied with a specialist app to receive and log bets.
- You’ll be supplied with a cash bankroll to bet with.
- You will be paid directly from your bankroll.
- Work whenever you wish.
My thoughts were “I’ll believe It when I see It”
The Dog Track
I believe It was a Thursday evening when I was Invited to Owlerton Greyhound track in Sheffield. Getting there early, I met my contact and another new guy (that eventually attempted to steal from the syndicate). That’s another story though!
Admission was paid, and we went upstairs to view the dog racing, and see a demonstration of what we were getting Involved with. What I saw amazed me then, and still amazes me to this day.
To get to the upstairs viewing in Sheffield, you have to walk through the restaurant. We were even offered a meal, as this was tea time. But we were keen to get to a quiet viewing area and start betting.
Our contact produced his phone, and described how the “app” worked. Within a minute of him logging in, the phone vibrated with a bet alert. The selection was for evening horse racing. The message included the track, time, name of the horse, the odds to bet at, and of course the stake.
I watched Intently as around £700 was placed on two horses running within fifteen minutes of each other. As this was a demo, the bets were placed with online accounts. Our role though was to bet in shops with real cash.
I guess that night was just lucky, and both horses duly won. I won’t say how much, but the returns were considerable, and would have covered a few months wages for most mere mortals. I was hooked! But I was still thinking It was still too good to be true.
The following evening, we met again, this time in Rotherham, and drove to Nottingham in order to try betting for ourselves. We were to meet up with a senior member of the syndicate, who’d ultimately decide if we were suitable to start or not.
Again, around tea time, we’d parked and settled into a small bar near to the train station. Obviously willing to impress, we all had soft drinks, as we were given brand new phones, and proceeded to download the app.
I got familiar with the app and logins whilst finishing my drink. The next exercise would see us go live, with real money, in a real bookies. My new colleague and I were each given £500 in cash. He was dropped off at one bookies, and I visited a Ladbrokes in the City centre.
The shop was quite busy, with people dropping In after work to place bets and collect their winnings. The shop was, and still is quite small, and with just one member of disinterested staff on, it was a great time to start.
I placed 3 bets within half an hour, following the Instructions that came through on the app. When we were both collected, we were both up around £230 each. Despite the nerves, we’d proved that this worked with real money in a real life scenario.
The Gentlemans Bar
The venue where we were to meet our senior syndicate member was, as you guessed, a gentleman’s bar. It’s an American branded bar, quite close to Trent bridge. The serving girls are all quite orange, and wear owls on their tops, at this time in the evening. That’s enough clues…
We met a lovely fella, who bought us a beer and we chatted about our early success, and how we’d fit in with the rest of the group. This guy was clearly very smart and very successful. It was only when he went outside to speak with our contact, that I had chance to discuss the evening with my colleague. We were both impressed!
Our guy came back after a few minutes to pay the bill, and as we were leaving, he collected a small carrier bag that had been on the table since we arrived. I later found out that that bag contained £10,000.
Back in the car park, when we eventually got the correct floor in the multi storey, we were given a further £1500 each. My starting bank was £2230, and my initial scepticism had obviously vanished.
What happened Next
Starting with my local area, I went to work. Within a few short weeks, It became very apparent that bookies hate winners and losers. During my stint with the betting syndicate, the UK Government severely restricted the use of fixed odds betting terminals. The press claimed these were the crack cocaine for betting addicts.
My first restrictions we were with William Hills. I’ve never been able to get a good bet on with these. It appears that they’ve actually lost the art of bookmaking, in favour of the fixed odds machines. It’s no surprise that they closed 700 shops across the country.
It’s not sour grapes, well maybe just a little, but there’s plenty of better bookies to bet with, but they start to get to know you if you don’t move around.
To give you an idea, my turnover was in the region of £3-4000 daily. When you start placing £500 bets, you start to get noticed. In fact, I’ve been banned from a number of bookies, even when I’ve lost £1500 in a session. It’s madness!
After a while, I was asked to look after a small team of other members. I travelled the country meeting, training and financing these guys. It was a hell of a ride. I met people that made my betting look amateur.
After a fair time, I got banned and restricted from most bookmakers within reasonable travelling distance. Don’t get me wrong, it was great while it lasted. The syndicate is still going, but will always rely on a supply of fresh blood. Finding trustworthy people to bet is a challenge in itself.
I’ve left this section until last, as no doubt you’ll want to know the nitty gritty. I’d certainly want to know what the edge was, and how I too could exploit it. The honest answer is, and always has been, that I don’t know. I was a small cog in a larger machine, and just did my part, as the others did theirs.
What I will do, is surmise though. Indulge me for a moment and assume that 100 of us bettors placed bets with the bookies, on the same selection at the same early price. Let’s say that the bet is £500 per person, and the bet is on the favourite at odds of say 3.0 decimal.
The bets are sent out when the bookies are offering best value, so that’s £50,000 being bet. 99% of our bets shortened in price as the bookies look to hedge and keep the books balanced.
If the price shortened to 2.0, then the syndicate could lay off the liability on the exchanges, by laying £75000 at 2.0. After commission of 2%, a profit of £24500 would be made before the race even started.
Clearly these sums of money would need to be spread throughout the exchanges and drip fed into the markets. This presents more problems, but the theory is certainly a valid and profitable approach.
To sum up, there are people and organisations taking advantage of the bookies on a daily basis. The bookies are businesses, and providing you play by the rules, then why not exploit their value. They don’t play by the rules in my opinion, and are quite happy to ban you if you prove unprofitable for them. Maybe they’ll up their game shortly, or risk going out of business. Time will surely tell…