Thursday, 24 September 2015

Betfair etc

I am continually scratching my head with this company, for many reasons.

The website of Edward Murray - .. is a dark hole, that may or not, be spurious nonsense .. its a trifle hard to say, but, a lot of things Mr Murray is saying, looks clearly defamatory .. so, u wonder when the court case, is coming.

The website, is reporting of an alleged Melbourne drug lord, laundering money thru the Betfair Australia arm (which was sold/disposed of .. a while ago .. so, maybe its not their problem).

This is on the back, of the million-to-one shot, of the Paddy Power / Betfair merger, which, I continue struggle to find good business sense of. This is clearly just me .. as the 'city' .. saw the news as positive, taking the Betfair share price, from +/- £26 .. to unheard of heights, of £32.

It sort of shows, either what a good job, the new CEO has done, or how under-valued it was, under previous heads.

For me, it seems to be less focused on being an exchange, and more focused on providing a mainstream bookmaker type service .. and that is both a shame, and maybe an opportunity, for others.

Tax issues of the rich and famous

In gambling, and definitely Irish gambling, J.P.McManus is a giant, who whilst I wouldn't say I have followed,  remember documentaries about him, going back over 35 yrs.

JP began as a professional horse-race gambler, before being so successful, was able to diversify into forex trading/studs/other businesses - like buying and selling Man Utd -- a smart cookie, said to be worth over £500m.

He is known to be v generous, do a great deal for charity, and thou I have never met him, am sure hes got a lot of gamble.

In recent days, news of a £5.2m tax problem has emerged, where its believe he won $22m playing either backgammon or poker in 2012, and the losing party sent the IRS the $5.2, as withholding tax, not knowing Ireland has a tax agreement with the US. JP is non-resident in the US.

Professional gamblers in the UK and Ireland are largely exempt from tax (nice) - JP has to play a flat E200k a yr, under the domicile levy .. so, is doing nothing wrong, but, the IRS is dragging its feel in paying back the money.

So, its not the money .. but, it does make u wonder, how protected the IRS is, and how slow they can be. Also ..just how big, are some private poker games ?

Must be nice .. I hope he gets back-dated interest etc.

EV (Expected Value) - of being a cat

I am back in the writing vein, as my house has now largely become a reality, and save for a few new walls being moved, (a mere bagatelle, in the scheme of things), I have been accumulating stuff to write about.

A few things were going to occupy this post .. with such interesting topics as the matchbook traders conference, life EV, my quest for 90 (always stimulating stuff), and various blogs/podcasts,mergers I was gonna take issue with.

That all changed, when I saw the happy state of 2 maine coon cats, we inherited from a previous owner, whose future husband was allergic.

They look chilled .. I suppose they should, they kip for 16-20 hrs a day, get their food served up on a plate, and only really bother to wake up, to destroy my furniture, and annoy the dogs.

I dont suppose they have a blog .. or have to worry about the arcane workings of the Uk betting markets ..

Where do we sign up ?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Rugby World Cup - 2015

Historically, bookmakers have normally found Rugby a very hard sport to beat ..

This may be because 15 men, who are committed/fit etc, can fairly easily balance the effects of a team member under-performing.

The World Cup is a long competition, and to win, more than anything else, u need a v strong squad - not just a great starting 15. Players get injured - tired - etc .. so, countries with depth, will overcome.

As injuries can be such a factor - its a theory, that once a team has 'won' its first/second match, it will ease off - either physically or mentally, in the last 10 mins.

Maybe becos of this, in the last World Cup, all 8 underdogs 'on handicap' managed to win their games .. for example, if Japan were 40 points underdog, they managed to lose by less than 40.

So far, of the 8 games played .. 6 underdogs, managed to win on handicap - and its noticeable, the gap between the historically great rugby nations, and the also-rans, is narrowing.

So far, I havent been that impressed by any team, thou I have little doubt, if New Zealand manage to keep 15 players on the field, they will go v close to winning. At 2.24, it cant be a bet.

I have a little on Ireland at 12/1 .. and have laid S.Africa for maximum. The coach looks nervous, and rightly so - his head looks bang on the chopping block, after Japan at 300/1+, managed a well deserved win.

Monday, 7 September 2015

10 Green Bottles

The nice thing about sport, is that it reminds u of stuff.

Its also a way of keeping track of time .. I cant believe England last toured S.Africa in 2010/11 .. gee time flies. They are due to tour again, at the end of the yr.

I have fond memories of the games, and the Barmy Amy, singing many songs.

One song, which was used to wind-up the locals, was a theme of 10 green bottles, based upon the weakness of the local currency - the Rand.

In 2010, the song started at ..

We get 1 Rand to the pound, we get 1 rand to the pound, etc etc

and seemingly, 15 minutes later, they finished on

We get 12 rand to the pound , We get 12 rand to the pound, We get 12 rand to the pound, We get 12 rand to the pound !!

with a special finish of :

Its so cheap, its unbelievable !!

well, 5 yrs on .. things have changed a bit.

U now get 21 Rand to the £ .. the song will take 35 minutes ..

S.Africa has become ridiculously cheap, for foreigners .. a 5 star hotel can cost £110, a bottle of beer - well its cheap.

For 6 bottles, its R55 or -- £2.70..

I think some holiday makers, will have some v sore heads.

Monday, 17 August 2015

An eventful trip, from Birmingham to Heathrow

So, I had a flight from Heathrow, and needed a convenient way to get there :

Althou the coach can take up to 3 hrs, for a 2 hr journey, its normally harmless, so, booked a seat :

This is a copy of what happened :

I had a pre-booked seat, FFFNHB62 on 12/8/15, at 13.45, Birmingham-Heathrow.

At the coach station, the coach was called 10 mins before departure, and the waiting passengers, all loaded.

It seemed many passengers had multiple bags, and a 5 or 6 man band, had a few guitar boxes, which also added to the stowage.

We left Digbeth at 1.45, and reached Birmingham International, at approx, 2.15.

On Arrival, it appeared there were at least 8 passengers attempting to board, and, there was no apparent space for the luggage.

The coach driver, addressed the seated passengers, and said there would be a delay, while a mini-bus was called, to carry the extra luggage.

All passengers waited on the bus, which wasn't comfortable, as the bus was switched off, and there was little Fresh air.

After 30 mins, I looked outside, and the coach driver was in a heated argument with a burly male passenger, who was waiting to board. The driver expressed the opinion, people should be complaining to the call centre, who had over-booked the coach. (I am not sure why, the new passengers were not allowed to sit on the bus - but, with the lack of air, maybe it was a fair choice).

A few mins later, I left my seat, and really not trying to be combative, just  asked the driver, if he had any details as to the extent of the delay. He said, he would not call the call centre, and had no idea.

Now I can understand the luggage issue, but, don't comprehend why he couldn't give an approx time of delay etc. All passengers were attempting to catch flights .. I had some leeway, and wanted info to base a decision as to what to do, should the delay, drag on.

The band members were sitting opposite me, and they had a flight leaving at 6.40 pm, which, I thought it unlikely they were going to make, as the coach was apparently due to stop at Coventry, before the Heathrow terminals. One band-member, tried to call the help line for National Express, but, was re-directed from the website, to another number, as the one he dialled was apparently out-of-service. In the end, he gave up, trying to call.

Other passengers were starting to ask questions, but, the coach driver just ignored us.

At, a delay of 45 mins with no information, I collected my laptop, and left the bus. I asked the driver to open the luggage hold, and he said he wouldn't help me unload the luggage. Fortunately, I had seen where my luggage was loaded, and being near the front, felt I could move my 2 pieces .

The driver would not open the hold. I asked him to open it, or I would call the police. He opened it, stayed in his driver seat, and I got my bags.

I then re-boarded the bus, and asked him for his name. He refused to give it, so, took a picture of both him hiding in his seat, and the bus registration.

He said, "have a nice flight".

(( I dont really know why he was so sour towards me. I was just asking polite questions. The coach driver never swore at me, or raised his voice, or acted threateningly - just seemed to contemplate his life - which I suspect, is generally no fun, dealing with members of the Public.))

I went to TOA taxi, and negotiated a £190 charge, from Bham international to Terminal 5.

I made my flight, and had some time to tweet some comments, but, my data allowance ran out, before I could do much.

After reaching my international destination, I am not going to let this just rest. The Twitter account of #nationalexpress informed me, no compensation is payable for a 45 minute delay. Having had some time to look etc, I am not sure this is totally accurate.

I have looked up EU regulations, and it is the duty of the carrier to inform the passengers, of travel info, both before and during the journey.

It seems reasonable, that in a delayed journey, the passengers are kept informed etc - especially when the coach destination is to an airport.

If he had just been civil, taken a deep breath, and communicated to his passengers, the problem and how it was being-solved, and the time-frame,I may have come to a different decision.

As I was leaving the airport, I saw a mini-bus arrive, so, presume they were on their way, after about a 50-55 minute delay (providing the argument with the burly new passenger had been sorted). I didn't stay to see the mini-van drive off, or any discussions with the new passengers.

I expect more passengers missed their flight. Clearly, the driver was under pressure, but, he let it get to him. I don't see why I should suffer, and will obviously give National Express a chance to comment, but, if I am not satisfied, will take this to the small claims court (when I am back in the UK)

Once overseas, I had some further issues with data on my cellphone, and the nationalexpress twitter account, suggested I direct message them, and someone would contact me. The twiiter account of National Express has been v helpful, which reflects well on the conmpany, but, the bottom libe, is I paid £23 for a coach ticket, which I was unable to use, and paid £190 for a taxi, for fear of missing my flight.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Womens Ashes - Test at Canterbury

The female Ashes series has gotton a lot of media coverage, with attendances and TV viewers being roundly sought after.

I attended the One Day game at Worcester, and it seemed pretty clear to me, Australia have a very solid top/middle order, which England never looked like breaking down.

On the eve of the game, most bookies bet, something like :

Eng 3.4

Australia 2.6

Draw 2.8

Its only a 4 day game, so, the draw has a decent chance. I would have England, much bigger, and although the markets are v small, have a position against England.


Aus win the toss and bat.

Overcast, so, do respect the draw, but, cant fathom how England are gonna take 20 wickets, so, have laid max Eng at 3.75 avg.


Aus 54-0 after 16 overs ;

Eng 8.00

Australia 2.7

Draw 1.94

Nice to look at a green book, after last week.


This is going pear .. from 80-2 at Lunch, Shrubsole has bowled really well, and Aussies look in a fair amount of trouble, at 97-4.

Eng 2.6

Aus 3.2

Draw 3.0

Have laid more Eng.


100-5 and Eng touch 1.90 .. laid more, so, my overall avg is now 2,7

Will try to reduce liability, if it gets back there.


Aus 126-5

Eng 2.70

Aus 3.5

Draw 2.80


COP Aus 268-8 .. which is a v fair effort, given they were 100-5.

Current prices, (with weather forecast generally improving)

Eng 4.4

Aus 2.4

Draw 2.80

Now comes the traders dilema. I can bank a profit, (which usually is a reasonable option, and even feel, 4.5 or so on Eng, is about right - but, still cant pull the trigger).

I am genuinely surprised, Lanning and Perry scored so few runs, and have to believe, they will be better in the 2nd dig.

If  I had no previous position on this game, I would lay the draw .. but, have a fair amount of travel in the next few days, making weather watching tricky, so, I will probably just leave my position as is.


Day 2 - and some nasty rain, came from almost no-where. Delayed start, to about 12.30, but, time can be made up .. might lose 8 overs today.