Major UK Bookmakers Refused Multiplies After Seeing Frankie Dettori Win 4 Races at Royal Ascot
Frankie Dettori’s 1996 win is definitely one of the most memorable historic achievements. The Magnificent Seven is still something that every horse racing fan remembers, but bookmakers as well. 23 years ago, the Italian jockey has left bookies in despair, having to pay punters over £30 million.
Even though they avoided a disaster at this year’s Royal Ascot, when Dettori managed to win the first four races in one single remarkable afternoon, they decided to take no further chances. That is why some of the major names in the UK gambling market decided to ban multiples.
Bookies Take No Chances
A day after Dettori’s four-timer, the news spread that Bet365, one of UK’s most popular internet-only bookmaker, was refusing to allow players to put bets on all five of Dettori’s mounts in one multiple. Four of Dettori-ridden horses made it on Thursday, so Bet365, joined by SkyBet, banned punters from placing three longer-priced mounts in one multiple.
Negative criticism followed immediately, as everyone started seeing Bet365’s act as an act of cowardice. By turning away the kind of bets that should be falling over itself to get, since this was the time to lower the SPs and get casual money with a massive margin for the layer, Bet365 managed its liabilities in the most cowardly way possible.
At the time of the Magnificent Seven, the land-based betting industry took the fall, true, but did not ban bets. They did what they could to, which is shortening the SPs of Dettori’s later runners.
And while online punters, under normal circumstances, have the option to withdraw their winnings halfway through, they were denied this option on Thursday, as Dettori’s last two runners’ odds became short-priced favourites.
To make the math, if 20,000 punters at Bet365 backed Dettori in multiples with a bets payout potential of £500,000, the liability for the layer would have been staggering £10 billion!
Modern Online Betting Under Fire
Sports betting analysts and experts condemned Bet365 actions. The fact that the bookmaker didn’t take chances in the most tricky moment in recent history like it is supposed to as a bookmaker, was broadly considered as disturbing, to say at least.
Not only will the bookie lose its price-sensitive punters, but it will also lose the casual customers who will refuse to place the constant high-margin bets. If that happens, the bookie will be left with no one else to bet. Sure, Bet365 might have avoided an existential catastrophe for now but remains to be seen whether punters will ever trust it again.