Another Numbers Game: The Races

From horses, to greyhounds to humans, betting on the outcome of a race is a long standing hobby for residents of the UK. Horse Race

Dissimilar to bingo as it is, racing is still one of the most popular forms of gambling out there. Horse racing in particular has been bet on since the Roman Empire. Not to mention, modern technology makes gambling even easier; watch the race from the comfort of your telly, poised to click a mouse or dial a phone to place your bet. Websites that offer horse race gambling include SkyBet, 888sport, TitanBet, Ladbrokes and BetVictor.

Let’s explain how horse racing works, shall we? The very first step is to put in a stake of cash. This is the amount of money you plan to bet, and the amount that will be lost should you lose. The minimum stake is usually fixed at around 10 pence or so for most races.

Before you commit to a stake, it would be smart to check the odds of each horse winning. For example, if horse A has odds of 7/1 to win, but horse B has odds 1/1, then horse B is 7 times more likely to be victorious. However, because the odds were much surer when betting on horse B, your pay-out would be significantly smaller accordingly. To be frank, the more risks you take in odds, the more cash you can earn should you win.

In total, your winnings should sum up to your initial stake, plus your stake multiplied by the odds. If you bet £5 on horse A in the example above, winning would get you that £5 back plus £5x7odds (£35), making £42 altogether. If you lost, then you would simply lose the £5 stake.

You can also try ‘Each Way betting’, where your bet is effectively split into two. In other words, you could bet on first and second place, first and third, etc. Only the top three or four places (depending on the race) can be bet on. Although, occasionally there have even been pay-outs for guessing last place!

An interesting alternative to fixed odds betting can be found at Spreadex. They offer a ‘spread’ or ‘prediction’ on the outcome of either a single race, a whole day’s racing or even an entire meeting. For instance, Spreadex may predict the winning distance to be recorded. Then you can buy on the spread if you think the winning distance/s will be higher than the prediction or sell if you think it will be lower. The profit you make is the difference between the eventual outcome and the point you bought or sold at, multiplied by your stake. However, it is important to note that unlike fixed odds betting, you can lose more than your initial stake size should the bet go against you. Find out more about spread betting here.

Our favourite horse racing win goes to the infamous Irish gambler Barney Curly for his bet on ‘Yellow Sam’. Most people thought Curly was barking mad, his odds slim to none. However, Curly had the last laugh, taking advantage of an under-handicapped horse to win a staggering £1.7million. Not to mention, Curly again made headlines on 22 January 2014, this very year, in a betting coup involving four different horses, winning around another £2 million from bookmakers. Now there’s a gambling genius – maybe we should bring him in as a bingo game tutor one day!

Our favourite horse racing loss happened just a few years ago. An extremely wealthy couple went on a little trip to the glamorous Del Mar race track, about 20 miles north of San Diego. After some drinks, excitement, entertainment, then even more drinks, the couple decided to bet all their $2 million life savings on one horse. They lost.

We have a few last tips for our bingo fans before they step out into the big, wide racing world. 1) Set aside a pot of money to gamble with, away from your day to day finances, so your livelihood stays safe. 2) Do your homework and check into odds comparison sites, horse reputation, etc before you bet. Racingpost, OddsChecker and Dummies.com are particularly good resources. 3) Some bookmakers will give you free bets when you open an account with them, just like a bingo welcome bonus! Track these bookies down!

There you have the basics of horse racing. Try it out, and bet away from the bingo balls for a change!

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