What’s that noise I hear? It couldn’t be the sound of a towel being thrown in, could it?
Everywhere you look today, bookies are offering the Field against Frankel – a bet otherwise known as laying Frankel.
And that comes so soon after another bit of interesting news to observers of this sport (by which I don’t mean racing but the old bookie battle from which I still carry deep scars, clearly!), that William Hill are pushing a great new product (new to them, I mean): cash-in your bet. It allows you to sell back a bet that you’ve made by backing the counter to it at whatever the current odds are – or, in more common parlance, to lay it back.
I know, I know… I’m just stirring… And I know people will say that these are one-off bets and – in the case of the cash-in mechanism – that you need to have placed a back bet in order to place a lay one.
But the lines are becoming increasingly blurred, and the argument that lay betting is problematic is now almost exclusively the preserve of people who are either certifiably bonkers or are not flexible enough to adapt very outdated business models which they therefore seek to protect. Both charges are palpably no longer true of William Hill, or of most of the betting companies that operate in Britain.
As for the European Lottery Association… Well, I’ve written a piece about their recent comments on the subject for the forthcoming edition of Gaming Intelligence Quarterly. So I wouldn’t like to pre-empt it…