Well, it's been a very good third day to the Festival, but the edge has been taken off the excitement somewhat. I received a message from Bet365 this evening, the first paragraph of which read:
"Following a review of your account, we regret to inform you that we are no longer able to offer you our telephone betting service and whilst our online service remains available to you, betting restrictions will be applied on any future bets placed."
I have to admit that this has come as a bit of a blow. Sure, account restrictions are nothing new to me. Victor Chandler have shut me down twice, Stan James refuse to take a bet. BetFred and Boylesports have shut me down previously too. But anybody who takes their gambling even a tiny bit seriously will expect such excuses-for-bookmakers taking such action. With these members of the Hall of Shame, being restricted or shut down completely is simply a rite of passage.
But there have been a small number of firms that I have considered to be my "go to" bookies. Along with Ladbrokes and William Hill, I counted Bet365 as being one of them. Until today.
It could be argued that my accounts have lasted longer than could be reasonably expected. By splitting all bets I place between two bookmakers and by ensuring that I never stake more than £50 on any one bet with any one bookmaker, I do believe I have stayed largely under the radar. The majority of my bets are staked between £10 and £25, figures that I hoped would lead the various firms to regard me as small fry. Obviously not small enough for Bet365.
So what are the consequences? Well, in the short term, it means that the accounts that remain unrestricted come under increasing pressure, which is obviously far from ideal. I can try to relieve that pressure by opening another Bet365 account in my wife's name, I suppose. This tactic has worked with another well-known bookmaker but it doesn't half leave you vulnerable. I can use my wife's maiden name (under which she still has a bank account) and I can link this to her mother's address, but if it is true that the bookmakers track IP addresses and can link accounts this way, I'm screwed. Most of the time, my bets are placed from my place of work. I can't disguise the IP address there.
No, there are longer term effects of what has happened today; this is possibly the beginning of the end of my betting on horse racing. At the very least, it may well mean that the amount of money I can bet on racing is drastically reduced. Perhaps the only racing services I can follow in the future are those that tend to back at predominantly short prices. Mind you, The Sportsman Racing and Personal Info are the only two I can think of that can be listed within this category.
I've mentioned it before, but I actually think that I have to start thinking about changing my portfolio in such a way that I can avoid account restrictions/closures full stop. Let's face it, even if my other accounts I use for racing remain functional for a while longer, and even if I open new accounts in the names of various family members, I'm merely delaying the inevitable. This problem isn't going to go away, so I need a plan of action that provides a viable alternative.
I'll talk more about my plans next week. Stay tuned.
What happened with Bet365 is a shame, as it had been another very good day.
4PA was the star of the day, although a stupid mistake made by your's truly cost me a point. That mistake was backing Carlito Brigante antepost for the World Hurdle at a bookmaker that didn't provide Non Runner No Bet terms. Rookie error!
The winners 4PA did come up with though were Riverside Theatre - backed antepost at 10/1, Voler La Vedette which was backed antepost for the World Hurdle in the "Without Big Buck's" market (8/1), and Sunnyhill Boy in the Fulke Walwyn Memorial Handicap at 7/1.
Talking of Big Buck's, The Sportsman had put it up back in November at 4/5 (NRNB terms), although I have recorded the results under The Sportsman Racing figures (0.25pts for The Sportsman equates to 1pt for The Sportsman Racing). So seeing Big Buck's win and Voler La Vedette come second was just about the perfect result!
Northern Monkey gained a return from an each way bet on Champion Court in the opener (8/1) and also gave the winner, Sir Des Champs as a saver (4/1). They also had Becauseicouldn't see at 12s each way, who was second to Sunnyhill Boy.
No joy for On The Nose at the Festival today.
Away from Cheltenham, no luck at all for Chasemaster (who I thought were very unlucky with a 14/1 shot in the 4m chase that was going by far the best and in the lead before falling about a mile out), and Winning Racing Tips picked up a few pennies when their selection finished in the frame (One More Cookie - Towcester - 11/2). No returns for The Market Examiner.
Finally, to round it all off, a nice win on the darts tonight from On The Oche.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2pts, +0.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3.5pts, -3.5pts.
4PA: Staked 9pts, +10.75pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1pt, +0.8pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, +0.04pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, +1.25pts.
Month to Date
Northern Monkey: Staked 14.55pts, -8.495pts, roi -58.38%
4PA: Staked 33.5pts, +6.687pts, roi 19.96%
Chasemaster: Staked 4.125pts, +0.931pts, roi 22.57%
WRT: Staked 4.9pts, +2.808pts, roi 57.31%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 3pts, +0.562pts, roi 18.73%
On The Nose: Staked 12pts, +4pts, roi 33.33%
The Market Examiner: Staked 19pts, +7.555pts, roi 39.76%
TFA 7/22: Staked 10pts, +5.91pts, roi 59.1%
Skeeve: Staked 33pts, +1.98pts, roi 6%
Football Elite: Staked 9pts, +6.257pts, roi 69.52%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.35pts, 0pts, roi 0%
On The Oche: Staked 2pts, +0.25pts, roi 12.5%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 7pts, -4.103pts, -58.61%