I started working with an on course bookie called Gary Allaman, I used to pester him for tips as a 13 year old lad at Beverley races, whilst I skipped school. Gary finally gave me a job at the age of 14 where I travelled the northern race course circuit with him. I loved the day to day hustle and grind of the betting race course. So many characters, so much potential so much fun.
At the age of 16 I started my very own tipping service called Blue Chips, some of you might remember it, I was a pretty big tipping service back in the day. Yes you read this correctly, I was 16. I had my own telephone tipping service before I could legally bet. We were accredited by the Racing Post and were officially the 2nd most profitable service in the country (inderpendant survey from proofed bets). I ran Blue Chips for about 5 years
I knew that tipping services were great fun but if I wanted to make real money I had to own a betting shop myself. It just so happens a local caravan site bookie called Doug Southwick OBE was selling his on Skipsea Sands Caravan Park. Now don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a place that I was going to earn my millions but it was a great place to learn my trade from the other side of the counter. I loved the experience but it as you can imagine it just wasn’t busy enough.
I spoke to Andy Carr from, not surprisingly, Andy Carr Racing, a local bookmaker in Beverley. Now he was a character, he was NUTS and to be fair I learnt ALOT from him. Great great guy, he taught me the power of the promotion. I worked with him in his shop and also on the race course …. Great days. But I was still young and wanted a bigger challenge and boy did I come across it.
I came across an advert for a betting shop manager in Hull for an independent bookmaker. I went for the interview and was taken a back, the guy interviewing me, Sean Young, was a amusement arcade owner and wanted someone to set up and run a betting shop for him as he didn’t know the industry. Wow!! What a challenge, what an opportunity, some guy I didn’t know was giving me (a 22 year old lad) what felt like an open cheque book to set up what I thought was the perfect bookies. I did just that, we open Show Bet on Hessle Rd in Hull. I didn’t let Sean down either, it was fantastic and just worked from the moment we opened it.
I ran Show Bet for 3 or 4 years, but I always knew I wanted to do it for myself. After all betting and betting shops was the only thing I was good at, I just understood what it was that punters wanted and expected, after all I was one.
May 2016 I opened Newbet on Newbridge Rd in Hull. It was fantastic, a state of the art betting shop that had one focus … to put punters first. Not just say it but really mean it. Jack Duckworth officially opened it … I even got my Gran kissing Jack on page three of the Hull Daily Mail (the local rag), she now has it laminated in her living room!
On a Saturday we fed the whole community, customers or not. Giving sandwiches, pork pies, sausage rolls etc etc etc away. We knew every customer by name and as soon as they came in to the store a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate was waiting on the counter for them. As for offers, wow did we excel in this area, numbers was my game so I knew what we could and couldn’t offer in terms of been profitable and not. We gave –
- 6 x the odds for one winner on Lucky 63s
- 5 x the odds for one winner on Lucky 31
- 4 x the odds for one winner on Lucky 31
- Guaranteed prices on every race every day
- Money back for short headed losers
- No Rule 4 5p and 10p
- Paid full odds on dead heats
- And lots more.
I know what many of you are thinking, thats a shit load of offers. Yes it was and we were only operating over the year at a 8% profit margin but that was good enough when you are taking £45k a week. Not to mention the fobs, the bookies best friend. We were averaging over £100,000 a year on the fobts as well. You’ll learn that I’m pretty open and honest with figures, what you see is what you get.
Side note if you playing FOBTS please please please do so only for a bit of fun with small stakes … YOU CAN NOT WIN ON THOSE THINGS. Hence the bookies friend comment.
It sounds as though we were making fortunes but we weren’t, the running costs for a bookies (after you pay all your duties) ended up been nearly £5k a week. We were still profitable but not as much as everyone thought.
I then met a girl ….. Thats where the fun stopped … wait a minute that sounds terrible, i didn’t mean it like that, we are actually still together, married with 2 kids, she is flipping awesome and still rocks my world. What I meant is, that I had to take life more seriously and look towards the future. As you can imagine theres a lot of colourful characters in the betting shop and whilst we were on great terms with everyone we did occasionally get the aggressive customer, threats to beat me up, burn down my house, shoot me etc etc. One even waited outside for me after closing with a bat and actually rang the shop and asked me to come outside … Needless to say I just stayed where I was safe and sound. Ive got hundreds of stories like that, one day i will write a book.
Anyway back to the girl part, I ultimately knew that I wanted to settle down and have kids with this girl but I couldn’t do this in this line of work, there are many an occasion when I didn’t feel safe and I didn’t want that for my family. I also could see that people were betting with their mobiles more and more, it was only a matter of time before betting shops felt the pinch from this emerging technology, I could see it happening. So in 2011 I decided I was selling, only problem is no one will buy a betting shop with a 8% profit margin, its just not good enough even if you are turning over £45k a week, the big boys are not interested.
So I gradually slashed my offers and introduced new offers in their place, this had a significant impact on my percentage profit. The following year I took an average of £36k a week but my percentage profit was 12%. Id done it!! I knew I could sell to the big boys. I put an advert in the Racing Post and the offers flooded in. The best was from Corals a 6 figure offer, I accepted and on the 1st of July 2012 Newbet became Corals.
Now the boring part, I had many offers from the national firms to join them, they ranged from trading departments (Odds Compiling), acquisition manager and even PR. But all of those rolls meant I leaving my home town of Beverley and that wasn’t for me, I’m a home bod.
After selling Newbet I became a professional punter, I can promise you its not as sexy as it sounds. Its long long hours, watching replays for hours on end and ultimately its very lonely. All you pros reading this will certainly relate to that. Then the biggest problem of all, you get your accounts closed, I can’t have a bet in my own name with any online bookie, nor can my wife, my mum, my dad and my sisters. Winning accounts get restricted or banned its as simple as that. I get so frustrated seeing these pretend professionals on Twitter and Facebook showing winning bet screen shots and then asking you to join their tipping service for X amount a week… Please don’t, these guys are scam artists and will ultimately lose and make you lose too. Thats not to say there aren’t some good tipping services out there because there really are, there are people who make £100k plus a year from gambling but these people are few and far between. Just be careful and challenge what they tell you.
After a year I gave up betting full time to start a self storage business, this has been incredibly kind to me and we have just opened our second self storage facility.
So, why I am doing this website and podcast. Its simple I love betting, I love horse racing, it really is my passion. Its my enjoyment and how I unwind from the day to day of running a business. If my experience and knowledge can impact on just one or two of you it will make it all worth while.
I genuinely can’t wait to help and advice as many of you as possible. Hit me up on social media, lets talk betting.
Lets Do Thiiisss!
Much man Love