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Pass the bomb

As we head into the festive season, I’ve been reminded of that great Christmas game, Pass the bomb.

Have you ever played?

It’s a bit like a cerebral version of Pass the Parcel, and it requires the selection by one player of three letters from a hat, whereupon the bomb is set ticking and you can’t pass it on until you have come out with a word which starts with the three little letters. So you get “P-E-R” and you cry ‘perhaps!’ before flinging it to the next person, who shrieks ‘perambulate!’, until someone is left holding it when it explodes.

Sometimes, as with “PER” it’s very easy. Other times, it isn’t. And when it isn’t, I’ve seen people who think they’re just a bit smarter than everyone else holding on to the bomb for a while, in the belief that if they take up a little bit of the fuse, then the chances of the next person coming out with a word before time runs out is extremely small. I say “think” they’re a bit smarter, because “think” is the operative word. In reality, the fuse can be any length, and they’re just as likely to find the thing blows up in their face.

So I was reminded of this game when I saw the final submission to the Levy Board consultation by the three little letters which are B-H-A. Because when I read it, submitted right on the deadline so that there could be no comeback to any of the points it made, I laughed. They were, I thought, playing their own little game of Pass the Bomb. And like most people who play it thinking that they’re smarter than everyone else, they are, I think, likely to be the ones in whose hands the whole thing explodes.

I won’t go back over all the debate. What made me laugh about this latest submission, other than the lateness of it, is that it didn’t, as far as I could make out, respond substantively to any point made in the previous counter-submissions to its own. Instead it merely reiterated points made previously and threw a few misrepresentations into the mix.

Two things, though, did jump out.

The first was an interesting change of position in relation to the Treasury review of 2004-2005. Previously, Racing’s position has been that the HMT review was irrelevant for the purposes of the levy debate in that it applied a different test. In this latest submission, the BHA believes that HMT got it all completely wrong (and that HMT has a history of making mistakes in lots of areas, so this is nothing new).

And the second was this: “At paragraph 11.4 of the Betfair Rejoinder it is suggested that Racing has sought to have the traditional bookmakers fund an application by the Board for a Norwich Pharmacal disclosure order against Betfair. In fact, while Racing does not understand that it would be in any way improper for any party with an interest to fund such an application, if it were minded to do so, of for any such party to be solicited to do so, this is in fact completely untrue.”

When I was at Betfair, we were passed an unmarked copy of a presentation about doing a Norwich Pharmacal disclosure by a bookmaker who had been given it, they said, by Olswang (the BHA’s lawyers, for those of you who aren’t following) with the suggestion that they fund it.

It would appear that either one of the biggest bookies in the country is a liar; or someone else is.

Which do you put your money on?

Posted in Betfair, Regulation.

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2 Responses

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  1. Leonthefixer says

    Hi Mark,

    Not really linked to this post but while looking out at the snow one of your older posts popped into my mind:

    Post: Hello. I’m BacK

    And the section:

    “No matter: I heard while I was in Florida that this winter is predicted to be the coldest in England for a thousand years. Apparently, the Jet Stream has moved slightly to the West, and it has narrowed a bit. As a result, England will experience a winter more in line with its latitude, which puts us on a par with Canada and Russia.

    If that turns out to be the case, Racing will not need to strike, because it will be all off anyway. It’s not easy to ascertain from the web how many days they spend racing in Moscow annually, but having lived there for a year when I was studying Russian, I can assure you it wouldn’t be very many. You have your strike created by Divine Intervention, Paul: there will be a lot of days’ racing this winter which won’t happen. But when the bookmakers replace them with other things that they don’t have to give away part of their profits on; and when, next year, they decide that it was less of a headache to profit to the tune of 90% on a different product which they can promote without an annual fight, don’t defend yourself to your members that you never worked it out…”

    Not heard anything from Paul et al about how the current ‘strike’ is showing those pesky bookies who is the boss! The ‘strike’ looks set for some time, so why the rush to put on extra AW fixtures? They aren’t exactly replacing NH fixtures, just putting on betting fodder….



Continuing the Discussion

  1. Tweets that mention Pass the bomb | Mark Davies -- linked to this post on November 29, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alexander Ainslie and Simon Rowlands, Mark Davies. Mark Davies said: Anyone for a festive game of Pass the Bomb, or is it just the BHA who are playing? […]

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