Have you ever heard the one about the bookmaker that wouldn’t take on a bet?
It sounds like the set up to a joke, but BetVictor weren’t laughing this week when a small stakes punter rinsed them to the tune of £486,000.
The fortunate bettor placed a £2 Lucky 31 on Saturday’s racing, which amounted to a total stake of £62, and watched on with delight as his five runners all came home in first place at meetings at Stratford and Ffos Las.
The individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, received a 20% bonus from the firm for his efforts, and that £81,000 sweetener boosted his total payout to the £486,000 mark.
|Special Princess||Ffos Las||13:30||15/2 (15p R4)|
|Joueur Bresilien||Ffos Las||16:50||5/1|
|Don Juan Du Gouet||Stratford||17:10||12/1|
“I didn’t believe it when I first saw it so checked again when I woke up on Sunday morning.
“The rest of Sunday just went as a blur. I was in shock and disbelief, all the emotions a lottery winner must experience I imagine.”
The payout led the firm cease accepting such bets, a move they were to reverse just 24 hours later.
It was a historic win for a number of reasons. It was the highest payout that Victor Chandler’s firm has made to a small stakes punter, and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as they were concerned: they will no longer accept Lucky 15, 31 or 63 wagers.
Standard accumulators and other forms of multiples will still be welcomed, but you’ll be unlucky if you want to place a Lucky bet with the brand. Their director of sportsbook, Matt Scarrott, said:
“We have a strong portfolio of racing concessions including run for your money, in which we return full stakes on horses who refuse to start, extra place races, double result and best odds guaranteed.
“These coupled with the concessions and bonuses on ‘Lucky’ bets, have made it unsustainable to continue to offer.
“Rather than simply removing the double odds concession and win bonus, leaving customers with a Yankee, Canadian or Heinz plus singles which they can obviously still place, we felt it was more transparent to remove the bets in its entirety.”
The bonuses and concessions he refers to are BetVictor specials, which saw them pay double the odds for a single winner and an additional bonus for anyone landing all of their legs – as the gentleman found out to his joy at the weekend.
So what exactly are the ‘Lucky’ bets?
- Lucky 15 – 4x singles, 6x doubles, 4x trebles, 1x 4-fold
- Lucky 31 – 5x singles, 10x doubles, 10x trebles, 5x 4-folds, 1x 5-fold
- Lucky 63 – 6x singles, 15x doubles, 20x trebles, 16x 4-folds, 6x 5-folds, 1x 6-fold
These are often described as cover bets, as the staking plan essentially covers for every situation, with punters only needing to pick one winner to get some kind of return.
As you can see, the name of the wager dictates how many wagers are placed, e.g. 15, 31 and 63, so for a Lucky 15 you would bet 15 times your individual stake.
If you can spring multiple winners on the same coupon then you can imagine how quickly the bookies’ liability can rise – as BetVictor found out to their cost.
BetVictor Backtracks on Lucky Bets
It was hardly Brexit-esque, but BetVictor’s decision to stop accepting Lucky 15, 31 and 63 bets was momentous in its own right.
The announcement was met with derision by punters, especially after the firm’s decision came just hours after being taken for a near £500,000 liability by the small-stakes punter.
That was thought to be the biggest payout in Victor Chandler’s history on such a wager, and their decision-makers – reeling from their Christmas bonuses being dented – made the call to stop taking on such cover bets where the liabilities go largely unchallenged.
Well, power to the people and all that. The backlash from the betting community has paid dividends.
The brand has now revealed that they have reneged on their decision. The BetVictor director of sportsbook, Matt Scarrott, said:
“Following a review of the Lucky 15, Lucky 31 and Lucky 63 bets we have established that it is unsustainable to continue to pay bonuses on these bets.
“As a result, for fairness and transparency, we removed the bet type completely instead of simply eliminating its bonus element.
“After listening to customer feedback, we have decided to reinstate the Lucky 15, Lucky 31 and Lucky 63 bet types.”
So, in short, BetVictor customers will still be able to place their Lucky wagers – great news for horse racing punters, however you still won’t be able to access the various bonuses and concessions that the firm used to offer.
These included double and even treble odds where your Lucky 15 only yielded a single winner, and an additional percentage bonus where all of your selections win. After all, the gentleman who took BetVictor to the cleaners was paid £80,000 in bonuses on top of his £400,000 base win.