Monday, March 12, 2018

Bookmakers Revel ahead of Cheltenham Festival as Bettors Wager £1 Billion

Casino News Daily
Bookmakers Revel ahead of Cheltenham Festival as Bettors Wager £1 Billion

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power expects that more than £1 billion will be wagered during the Cheltenham Festival this year in what could become “the biggest betting week in sporting history.” The popular horse racing festival starts tomorrow and will run through March 16.

Around 300,000 bets an hour will be placed over the course of the event this week, Paddy Power believes. That means that the bookmaking industry could witness its best week in living memory. On the other hand, punter-friendly results could wreak a complete disaster for bookmakers.

Paddy Power ambassador Ruby Walsh appears to be bettors’ favorite. He has become the leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival on 11 occasions, including last year. Walsh has recently recovered from a broken leg right in time for the popular festival. The jockey has been out of action up until recently after he suffered a serious injury in a fall at Punchestown last November.

Paddy Power also reveals that Footpad is bettors’ 5/4 favorite for tomorrow’s Arkle Chase. The bookmaker says that if the horse wins, that would trigger the biggest payout of the week. The Willie Mullins chaser has performed brilliantly this season and is heading into tomorrow’s chase as the red-hot favorite. Footpad will face four rivals Tuesday, after scaring off quite some competition.

It is estimated that bettors will place an average bet of £12 during this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

According to industry insiders, fans of the Royal Family will wager millions of pounds on horses bearing royal names to celebrate the arrival of Prince William’s third child and the wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle. While “royal” nags are bringing considerable turnover, any of these winning over the next few days could cost bookmakers a fortune.

Previous Editions of Cheltenham

The 2016 edition of the popular festival turned into a nightmare for gambling companies. Punter-friendly results generated substantial losses for bookmakers and they are still cringing with distress from the aftermath of the event. What was dubbed the worst Cheltenham festival in living memory left the industry nursing combined losses of over £60 million.

William Hill was one of the operators to be hit the hardest from the unexpected results that year. The bookmaker was even forced to issue a profit warning and lower the forecasts for its annual profit by £30 million as a result from the losses it suffered during the Cheltenham horse racing festival.

Last year’s edition of the festival was considered one of the best for the bookmaking industry as favorable results and Robbie Power’s victory in the Gold Cup, in particular, saved bookmakers a collective payout of £20 million.

This upcoming Cheltenham Festival will be the event’s final edition with the Tote as the exclusive provider of on-course pool betting. Betfred, the current owner of the Nanny, is set to close its shops across 54 of UK’s tracks, the one in Cheltenham included, in mid-July when its pool betting license is set to expire.

The Britbet brand will replace the Tote as Cheltenham, Aintree, York and Goodwood, and other courses assume control over on-course pool betting.

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