A human being is a deeply social and gambling creature. Entire industries are built on the exploitation of these two qualities of people, such as social networks in the Internet, holding various competitions, and not only sports, organization of lotteries, sweepstakes, gambling, and so on. Sports betting is no exception. Millions of people around the world daily bet on certain events in sports, cultural or other aspects of life. Not surprisingly, over the long history of betting, the most unimaginable and curious cases have happened, which will be interesting to learn about.
Britain – the mecca of betting
Modern bookmaking, as such, originated in England back in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, even today betting in England is one of the most popular activities among the residents of Foggy Albion. According to unofficial statistics, betting in bookmakers’ offices does every second adult UK resident. The most popular sports are, of course, horse racing, dog racing and soccer. Then come such “exotic” sports as darts, cricket, rugby and snooker. As we can see, such popular European sports as hockey, basketball and volleyball are not very popular in Britain.
A proper “betting etiquette” has developed and is maintained in Great Britain. The big British bookmakers can make knowingly potential losses, but will comply with an unspoken “protocol”. For example, in the UK there is a practice of early payment of bets made, sometimes it leads to amusing situations, So at the beginning of the soccer season 2008/09 the world’s largest betting company BET365 made early payments on all long-term bets made on the fact that the newly ascended in the Premier League soccer club Stoke City will fly out following the season. However, Tony Pewlis’ team put the predictors to shame, and finished the season in the middle of the table. Thus, bookmakers not only lost their money, but also had to officially apologize to the management of Stoke City.
The British bookmakers, taking care of their image, sometimes go against the rules and make payouts for bets lost by the players, if it happened unfairly or as a result of force majeure. For example, the Irish betting company Paddy Power in 2010 paid out winnings to all its customers who bet on the victory of Philippa Massa in the German Grand Prix, even though the Brazilian came second. The fact is that Massa missed his teammate Fernando Alonso on the last lap at the behest of the team. One of the biggest scandals in modern soccer was the qualifying match for the World Cup 2010 between France and Ireland. Surely, many soccer fans remember the shameful episode when the French, standing on the flight, scored a goal against Ireland by playing the hand of Thierry Henry. After that game, many of the British betting shops paid out the winnings to their customers who bet on the Irish qualification for the World Cup 2010.
Marketing means a lot
As you know, Ostap Bender knew 400 ways to “honestly” take the money from the gullible population, but the Great Combinator admitted that not as important as the idea of how to get them. Bookmakers sometimes show amazing ingenuity in this regard, and it bears fruit. An interesting and revealing case occurred at the 2012 UEFA European Championship, when Denmark played Portugal. After the Portuguese goal Niklas Bendtner pulled up his shirt, pulled down his shorts and showed the name of Paddy Power on his shorts. The Dane received one match disqualification and a fine of 100 thousand euros for this prank. Of course, Bendtner did not have to pay anything, the penalty was paid by the customer, no one knows for sure what was the amount of the player’s bonus. However, it is known that after this prank Bendtner’s financial figures jumped by 41% to 191 million euros.
The craziest bets
Many bookmaker’s offices in their lines include a variety of types of bets, some of which belong to the category of fantastic. Surely many people remember the excitement in the world on the eve of the year 2000. There were rumors that some unimaginable failure would happen in the world computer network, and the world would end. Bookmakers didn’t stand by and took bets from their customers that the year 2000 would be the last year in human history. If it really happened, it is a mystery who would pay out the winnings on such bets. Another extravagant bet was that Elvis Presley would shoot down a UFO with his gun, after which the flying “saucer” would fall into a lake with the Loch Ness Monster and surely kill it. The odds on such an event were 1 in 15 million.
But, sometimes such “crazy” bets are played, and on them the shops have to make wins. We are talking about Leicester’s championship. Before the start of the 2015-16 season on the championship of Leicester was the odds of 5000!!!! To understand how fantastic this event was considered by the bookmakers, a comparison should be made – the odds on Elvis Presley being found alive that same year were “only” 2500. Elvis Presley was never found, but Leicester became champions, and bookmakers had to pay out huge sums to those lucky fans who believed their favorite team would win.
The biggest winnings
What bettor betting in a bookmaker’s office doesn’t dream of pulling off a jackpot. Of course, the big win in betting shops is the lot of single lucky men, they can be counted on the fingers of their hands, but their example inspires millions of others, who go and try to repeat the success of others. In order to make a fortune in sports betting, it is necessary either to bet on a unique event with a fabulous odds or to collect an incredible express. Both cases are known in the world practice.
- Norwegian Thomas Savirson bet that Luis Suarez would bite someone in a match between Uruguay and Italy. And so it happened, the “toothy” chewed on Giorgio Chiellini, making Savirson golden.
- Fred Craggs once guessed ALL the winners of a race and won at odds of 2,000,000! This happened on the eve of Craggs’ sixtieth birthday, who for 50 cents made himself, unaware of it, a luxurious gift of a fortune.
- another case, which became a classic of winnings in betting, occurred in the middle of the last century. A gambler bet on the victory of the weakest mare in the race, and she won it, but since in those years in British betting there were restrictions on the maximum payment of winnings, the lucky guy settled for a modest sum of 3,000 pounds.
- Surely many betting fans know about the “Devil’s Express”. An ardent MJ supporter had put together a 15-event Express with odds of 1,666,666 and a total of 30p. It was not a sour one, with predictions on the winners of the five English professional soccer leagues, the three Scottish divisions, the rugby and cricket championships and the winners of the European cups. The last match in the Express was the LF final between Bayern and Valencia, which was decided in a penalty shootout. The Germans won that final and helped the lucky player to complete a winning “puzzle” of 15 events, which brought the player a fabulous win.