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Time for lunch. (And not much else, in fact.)

I know. It looks like I’ve been on holiday again.

I haven’t, actually. And it isn’t that I can’t think what to write about, either. It’s just that there’s been too much to write about, and nowhere near enough time to do any of it justice. So unfortunately, the blog has fallen by the wayside. It’s been an endless stream of early mornings and late nights, without much time to write anything in between. I guess it’s that time of year.

Last night’s late one was at the e-Gaming Review annual awards, for which I was one of the panel judges. It was a fun thing to do and it was an enjoyable evening for lots of reasons – not least of which were catching up briefly with one or two old Betfair colleagues I haven’t seen since I left; and laughing a lot at the host, comedian Jack Whitehall, who would have made me feel exceptionally old (he was born in 1988) had he not been so funny. Principally, though, it was for the lengthy (2-hour) chinwag I had with John O’Reilly – for so long an adversary as MD of Ladbrokes – as we laughed about some of the highlights of our more epic battles. He was great company, and told me about his early days at Ladbrokes, when Cyril Stein had taken him under his wing. He advised O’Reilly when he joined that the important thing in life is to know what you don’t know. Nice line.

Moving from one meal to another, as I seem to be doing at the moment, today’s menu serves up the best racing lunch of the year (and arguably the best, full-stop): it’s the Sir Peter O’Sullevan bash at the Dorchester. I’ve gone every year for the last six or seven years, and this year I’m delighted – not having a Betfair table to host myself any more – to be there with my wife, Miranda, as a guest of the great man himself. Sadly, the BHA have not taken their customary table this time around: I gather that the £1000 cost for ten has fallen victim to the savage cuts in racing, with a lengthy explanation given that Betfair’s hiding illegal bookmakers who don’t pay levy was the reason that the BHA were sadly unable to support the charity this time round. They have, though, managed to find the money to pay Olswang for a further submission to the Levy Board consultation, if you haven’t noticed. I haven’t had the time to read it myself yet, but if you are looking for it, you can find it here.

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5 Responses

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  1. PPBox says

    Is the Olwang company motto “Never knowingly underbilled”?

    I enjoyed Annex 2 of their latest submission, particularly page 32, highlighting the Canary Wharf trading room. Just think of all the unlicensed bookmakers you’d be able to find in there making £££s and all that levy. There’s just one problem that I can see with that: it’s been shut for months because it wasn’t making any money.

    All that money being paid to legal advisors that could have been spent on prize money instead, and all the BHA get for it is a junior in the Olswang office whose research doesn’t stretch as far as phoning the telephone number to check they still exist.

    Taxi for Zeffman!

  2. Trigger Happy says

    The Canary Wharf shop is not closed but there’s only a handful of people in there and presumably all of them are betting in running not acting as unlicensed bookmakers! I’d say there are many more track players than trading shop players these days – and these are all contributing to racing by paying for entrance/and or boxes. Considering there was no in running before Betfair it could be argued that invention has actually increased levy. How frustrating that they continually want to view Betfair as an enemy rather than a positive force that could get more young people interested in racing/betting. If ‘racing’ did something forward thinking like give everyone access to fast enough pictures there probably wouldn’t be any trading shops or track players and possibly increased liquidity on Betfair…. leading to more levy?

  3. PPBox says

    Taxi for PPBox then if you’re right. Any idea why their telephone doesn’t accept incoming calls? Might explain why business is a bit slow.

    Still I can’t believe if they’re still open that there’s only a handful of people in there. That would imply that Racing’s been telling the Levy Board a load of old cobblers about the millions “leaking” from the Levy as a result of all these “unlicensed bookies”. Surely not?

  4. Trigger Happy says

    Im not sure why they’re not answering calls – I think it’s almost a case of they have a small hardcore group of regulars and as long as they all stay the expenses are covered and that’s about it.

    If it was decided these players were operating a business (because they go to an exchange shop) – if they switched to playing from home – but still won – would they then not be operating a business?!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Tweets that mention Time for lunch. (And not much else, in fact.) | Mark Davies -- linked to this post on November 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by London Places, Mark Davies. Mark Davies said: Off to the Peter O'Sullevan lunch at the Dorchester. […]

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