Sports betting

Weekend Review: Bookies suffer heavy Premier League losses in racing’s absence

Kindred’s overseas offering helps soften the blow of no UK racing and wretched football results

A dreamy set of results for Premier League acca-backers saw the weekend go from bad to worse for the bookies after all UK horse races were cancelled last week.

Comfortable wins for Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as a 6-0 victory for Manchester City against Chelsea, meant Ladbrokes suffered on the top-flight football.

The firm’s Alex Apati conceded: “We were hit pretty heavy on the football this weekend.”

It was a similar story for Kindred, where spokesperson Ali Gill added: “It was a tough weekend in the Premier League as our biggest five games left us significantly in the red.

“A 12:30 kick-off slot made Fulham v Man Utd our biggest PL match of the round and we really took a whack on that one before City, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool all added to our woes.”

The operator did however claw back some losses in the European football, especially in Spain where Lionel Messi’s Barcelona failed to beat Athletic Bilbao.

“On the continent our biggest event of the weekend was Athletic Bilabo v Barcelona, and it literally could not have gone any better,” beamed Gill.

“The 0-0 draw meant we won on almost all conceivable markets, goals, player bets – the lot.

“On top of that a Barca win was the final leg in a huge chunk of accumulators, so the full time whistle was likely cheered by the trading team here,” he added.

Kindred accrued sizable losses on the Six Nations as patriotic England fans piled on the cash ahead of the 44-8 win over France.

The majority of bookmakers were negatively impacted by the absence of UK horseracing this weekend after the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) cancelled all fixtures due to an outbreak of equine flu.

One racing exec at a UK bookmaker said ITV showing the meeting at Naas was “massive for us”, adding: “I think if there is an Irish meeting there will be interest, but days like today [Monday] will be a struggle and we can’t really gloss that over!”

As with the football, Kindred had to rely on events overseas to boost the books. “No racing has obviously had an impact, especially with the big races lost in the lead up to Cheltenham, as well as affecting the Ante Post action,” said Gill.

“However, our very strong international offering has come to the fore and our players have embraced it in the face of losing UK racing.

“Like the rest of the industry we are very keen for the return of racing as soon as possible, but we are not sat twiddling our thumbs whilst we wait.”

Betdaq’s head of marketing Robert Connolly insisted turnover remained high on Irish racing, with greyhounds also up on the exchange after £5.7m and £3.9m was traded respectively.

Ladbrokes’ Apati added: “Obviously the horse racing or rather lack of it wasn’t ideal, but it’s not uncommon to see races abandoned at this time of the year due to weather, and of course our primary concern is the safety, health and well-being of the horses.”

British Horseracing Authority | Kindred Group | Ladbrokes | Premier League | Six Nations | Sports betting