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When Relegation Takes On A Whole New Buzz

Goodman's Wigan relegation swipe is not fair

Funny how we see some folk as streetwise. The bullet-proof been there done it brigade. The John Waynes who get knocked for a six in the opening leg of a R15 million Pick 6 on July day.

Like Naas Botha’s proverbial cowboys, they don’t cry. There is a quarter tank of juice in the jammy. Salticrax and flat coke at home. They breathe deep. Order a round of drinks, enquire what’s for lunch and then swagger back to the jackpot queue.

Tony Mincione writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that gambling and punting is fun – but it’s never been for the faint of heart. Sometimes it goes your way – the next day it delivers the upper-cut. But through it all, a sense of honour prevails – an unwritten code of sportsmanship in the name of valour and unity of risk.

But every so often, the honour code is put to the test. Like in the technical debate taking place right under our noses.  Seasoned racing man, as well as poker and golf expert, James Goodman has the wind in his sails, waxing on about a bet he played that has been disputed by his (now former, it seems) friends at Hollywood.

James has taken to pontificating on the hour, using his half popular Winning Ways Show and even social media – can’t be easy for a man of his age to navigate the nooks and crannies of Facebook.

Simply the reality is that James played a bet on a soccer team called Wigan to be relegated to a lower division.  The odds that event would happen at their log standing and position at the time was generally calculated overseas to be 100/1 against that happening.

James Goodman

It was a Wednesday when the news broke in the UK over lunch that Wigan had gone into “administration” and would get an automatic 12 point penalty.

Instantly Wigan became an odds-on shot to be relegated as the beleaguered team fell from midfield to bottom of the log.

The probability had changed completely – to near definitely –  and the new price was 1/3.

And it was later that Wednesday afternoon, co-incidentally, claims James Goodman and others, that it occurred to them to bet on a team called Wigan – not knowing that 100/1 was an error of course.

One can imagine the excitement of those who heard about the (very likely relegation) to find a “certainty” STILL offered at 100/1, and it inspired them to try to hook some fish without alerting the guards. That sense of honour had become a sense of cents.

If it were me, I would probably be careful to look casual, play big enough for it to matter, but not too big to show you ‘knew’.

Goodman has since posted up some nice bets, played with confidence and a smile no doubt.

Then the inevitable. Weeks later Hollywood declared that the bets are not valid according to their T&C’s.

Now what gives racing a bad name is not in small part due to the idea that gambling is bad, and worse, crooked.

But the purity of gambling lies in the fact that while you may think your opinion is a fact, it is in fact, just your opinion. 

And while we have opinions, we can bet on them and put different variations of probability together with odds.  It’s a grand thing really… 3D chess, but for real. And if you are in luck, then boom – cash in the bank!

The thing is, when you are betting on a fact – as the Wigan situation developed – it isn’t gambling.  In the gambling world, that’s plain cheating. If you don’t understand that on day one, then years later you have no possible excuse.

You can wiggle this way or that, claim that weeks went by, or that you weren’t aware when you took the bet (yes, we all back 100/1 shots that are shortly after 1/3  by luck), or something else to deflect the fact that what you did was just taking a chance.

So let’s stop the grand-standing about the bets and the feigned whines of injured prey.

Grow up and realise that the only bet worth playing right now is the damage you are doing  to your own reputations.

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20 comments on “When Relegation Takes On A Whole New Buzz

  1. Andreas Booysen says:

    Ive been following this on Facebook and must say that Ive lost any remaining respect I had for James Goodman.
    Ones true colours are exposed when it comes to money and this is the perfect example.

    A few weeks before this, James had a member of the Hollywood team on his semi-popular show and was singing Hollywood`s praises (most likely hoping to get a sponsorship for said semi-popular show)
    and now he paints them as the lowest of the low when they dont pay on what everyone can see is an error.

    “” para edited

  2. Tony Ridgway says:

    Sounds personal to me. Get on with your own life, let the man pontificate if he wants to. What’s it to you?
    Come on S P surely you can find something more apt to post than this whiner’s smudging. I am a loudmouth myself, and a critic with a capital C and R and I and T and another I and another C, but I know where to draw the line between being critical and personal. If you don’t like someone, there’s a much better way to handle it than expressing it for all the world to see. That’s being “small” or “little. You know what that better way is? To IGNORE.
    Horses rock! People suck!
    Much love!
    Tony Ridgway

  3. Tony Mincione says:

    Lol. Pot.

  4. Paul Heller says:

    Ah Tony, you raise an interesting subject.

    I want to enter the debate. I do not expect to win nor do I expect everyone to agree with me.

    Since this paper is mainly a horse racing paper, assume that the bet which James placed was on a horse and at opening betting was 100/1. Assume that James knew from a groom that the jockey was going to be replaced from an average sort to the best in the country and that blinkers were going to be declared when they had not been before. Add to that, that James knew from the trainer that the horse had turned the corner and was catching pigeons at home and was beating 5 times winners.

    I point out that having been involved in the game for 40 + plus years, I have seen a lot that has been left to be desired by both bookmakers and punters. It is like a game of cat and mouse. The bookmaker is the cat looking for the mouse while the punter is the mouse trying to get the cheese. It has always been a case of who can out maneuver the other. More often than not, the mouse is eaten by the cat as the cat that has been placing the cheese in strategic places where the mouse, even if it eats the cheese, will eventually be eaten by the cat.

    Take my example now, except for the bookmaker, no one would blink an eye if the horse won. Everyone would see it as a coup by James. The bookmaker would be irritated and most probably close his account.

    Take the example a little further. Assume that all the information James knew about the horse was published by the trainer and owner on their facebook accounts. Most bookmakers saw the information and dropped the odds. The bookmaker did not. Is it fair to say that the bookmaker made a mistake. I think not. The bookmaker priced up the horse on what they knew. How many times have we seen a horse backed from double digit odds into favourite when the form book says that it should be an outsider? It’s because someone knows something or thinks they know something. When James placed his bet, he had information that the bookmaker should have known or did not know. Whatever the case, the bookmaker was willing to take the risk.

    There is nothing fair about gambling. The odds always favour the bookmaker. That is why the business is called bookmaking. What James did is not cheating. He took advantage of a situation. We live in the digital age. The bookmaker should have kept abreast of all the information. It is really bothersome that the bookmaker waited until after the race to void the bet.

    We all know that bookmakers benefit from information that we do not have. Is it fair. Can I ask for my money back because the bookmaker
    a) was told by the owner or trainer that a horse in the race i)had no chance ; ii) had a bad blood count; iii) was unfit; iv) was going for a run
    b) was told by one or more jockeys that their rides in the race would not win or place.

    I see no cheating. All I see is a punter taking advantage of odds offered by a bookmaker. Because the bookmaker is offering odds on the event, the bookmaker has an obligation to keep up to date with the facts and the betting.

  5. jc lee ching says:

    REALLY? I am not a huge fan of James Goodman but here I have understanding for him. What right does Hollywood have to cancel a bet once it has priced up and LAID the bet? If you have a shop and you advertise sugar for R1 a kilo the LAW says you must sell at R1 a kilo right? what excludes Hollywood legally? and don’t give me all that crap about T&C’s. So they made a mistake, tough, you must pay for your mistakes. I’ve been in business for many years and my mistakes on tender prices have cost me dearly but I could not legally withdraw my tender! If the pricing mistake was made in Hollywood’s favour and the punter got a lesser price than it should be would Hollywood rectify the price? would they? do they? how often does it happen? How many times has it happened that you go and take a bet and after the race you find that you were given the wrong horse or wrong number? and your bet should have won? what happens then ? will Hollywood pay you out? will they refund you? will they apologise? I think not. You will be directed to their T&C’s board and told CHECK YOUR TICKET BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE COUNTER. So James Goodman checked his ticket and saw that he had 100 to 1 and they cancelled his bet, shame on you, Taking or laying a bet is a sacred contract, taking advantage of the terms is one thing, refusing to pay the bet thereby breaking the contract is immoral.

  6. jc lee ching says:

    I do however agree with Tony Ridgeway. Why attack a man like James Goodman with the petty hurtful language used in this article, is it necessary? is it honourable? Mr Editor I am surprised that you published it, this is personal and hurtful.. Free speech is one thing but kicking a man when he is down is low. Don’t you think you should withdraw this post before more ire and hurt is inflicted on a man who with all his perceived faults has contributed to SA Racing in a large way over the years.

  7. M(artin)Gram(atica) says:

    I am very disappointed that this publication allows a hatchet job to be done on an individual. This hatchet job is particularly unpalatable when the one wielding the axe is a Hollywood employee. What Tony Mincione has done is call James Goodman a cheat. This he compounds by adding a few insults along the way. If you permit, let me throw in some facts to counterbalance a very one-sided article.

    James Goodman backed Wigan to be relegated on 1 July 2020. On that very day the controlling body of the lower leagues, the EFL had put out a statement concerning Wigan and their financial plight. They had unequivocally stated that a 12 point penalty would be applied. There was nothing grey at all and this is illustrated by the following taken from the BBC website:

    “The English Football League has said Wigan will be deducted 12 points.

    The sanction will be applied at the end of this season if the Latics, 14th in the Championship, finish outside the bottom three after 46 games.

    Should Wigan finish in the relegation zone, the penalty will be applied during the 2020-21 season instead.”

    Further to this announcement, Wigan would be playing a further 5 games and could earn an additional 15 points before the season ended. As it happens they won 2 drew 2 and lost 1 of the final 5 – hardly a team that had given up. The facts are that Wigan led Fulham at half time on the final day of the season before drawing. Had they held on to win then Wigan would have escaped relegation. The reality of the situation is that 7 clubs could have been relegated on the final day and Mincione’s statement that Wigan were a certainty is utter nonsense. Where he dug out the 1-3 odds in his piece, only he knows.

    The bottom line is Hollywood cocked this up royally. If Wigan had stayed up do you think Goodman would have received a refund? Of course he wouldnt have! There was no attempt to rectify the mistake – 5 games and 21 days later – until the bet “won”.

    The reality of the situation is that the Football head trader needs his arse kicked for being asleep on the job. Hollywood do the right thing and settle.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Martin
      We have a Mailbag facility that allows free speech and it is open to anybody from all sectors and interest groups.
      We amended our comments policy some time ago to prevent the sometimes impulsive and anonymous stone throwing and personal insults that were flying around.
      Mr Mincione put his name to the letter and is effectively responding to the social media and YouTube comments already being aired about the matter.
      We have no issue or axe to grind with Mr Goodman and have publicised his Winning Ways show YouTube platform on this site in the public interest.
      Vigorous debate is healthy.

  8. donald bradshaw says:

    I hold no candle for Goodman and feel he uses Winning Ways to push his own agenda and also do not know the exact facts of this particular matter as I have no interest in face book but if the facts are as outlined by Paul Heller then one can hardly argue with the points made by him in his comment ?

    If the bookmaker had a price of 100 /1 when Goodman struck his bet and that bet was accepted by the bookmaker and the bet is a winning bet then the bookmaker must pay out on the bet struck and not hide behind Ts & Cs !

  9. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Tony M is conflicted and should not really be commenting.

    It’s a tricky one and there must be some underlying issues – whilst Hollywood is not my choice, they have done some punter friendly things like paying out both results when operators can’t get it right! I have no knowledge but I can’t help but wonder why Hollywood are taking a stand in this issue.

  10. Jc lee ching says:

    Donald Bradshaw, take a bow, exactly.

  11. Tony Mincione says:

    I am really encouraged to see some rational thinking from posters above. There is nothing personal with regards James Goodman, He basically “introduced” the racing television interview in SA, and I cannot imagine anyone could have done a better job, I was often a few feet away and he was truly inspirational.

    Here is the rub, and I send this to your phone: “Jurgen Klopp (100/1) to be next manager of Man U, but they announced this morning on BBC Sport that the board has him on their very short list and pretty decided to go with him so he should actually be 1/3. I see the bookmaker that has this market up still has 100/1, maybe the update got stuck somewhere, ‘cos all betting suspended in UK. I’ve phoned for bet to win 20, so if you guys go in you MUST NOT phone otherwise they will twig. Quickly take some doubles online onto that 7/10 shot tomorrow. If you go in, bung the clerk with the pink hair 100 buck, and she will give you seperate cash tickets for 5k each. Thank god they can’t rectify errors or collussion anymore!! Go-go-go.”

    My problem with James isn’t just that he’s wrong, but that he is vociferously banging on about his abominal behaviour on every platform he can, and making it personal, and playing to the base of hard-done-by punters who always except that every loser is a conspiracy against them personally.

    Some wag says we should let him pontificate. Or i should. No one thinks he can’t do this rubish, I just think he shouldn’t, and only because it’s wrong and no good comes from it. But he will always have folk who believe him and agree with him, no matter what…popularism works like that, and so does conspiracy theory.

    He cannot win this in court or any arena where someone looks at the facts and must decide. So then what’s this about? Subscribers? Anyway, a debate about right and wrong is always fun, and neccessary I think.

  12. Dayalan Moodley says:


    This is your statement:

    “If it were me, I would probably be careful to look casual, play big enough for it to matter, but not too big to show you ‘knew’

    Based on the above, it comes across as you are condoning the bet that JG struck at 100/1, but for the amount wagered! Am I confused or are you intimating that ONLY if YOU took the bet (in amounts that YOU consider “not too big” then it’s okay AND PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE?

    It does come across as if you are playing the man and not the ball.

    It is my view that a bookmaker should not be allowed to unilaterally declare a bet null and void. The bookmaker should be compelled to make an application to the Gambling Board, setting out their reasons why a bet should be voidable. e.g. if a bookmakers IT systems were hacked and the bookmaker unknowingly laid bets at prices that were manipulated, then there are reasonable grounds for an adjudicator to conclude the bets are voidable. If employees are sleeping on the job, pricing up incorrectly or laying bets incorrectly, then bookmakers must deal with their operational deficiencies internally and not make it the problem of the punter of the adjudicator.

    In the case of Wigan being priced at 100/1 because of a failure of employees or their internal control systems not responding adequately and timeously to repricing the entire book (and not just WIgan’s price), the Bookmaker should be held to his side of the contract, as reflected on the betslip.

    The test for HollywoodBets is to demonstrate that every other team that they priced up for this bet type (except Wigan) was priced up correctly and consequently the composite pricing for WIgan relative to the collective book (excluding Wigan) is 1/3 and not 100/1.

  13. jc lee ching says:

    Mr Mincione I have a short Biblical message for you, “PAY WHAT THOU OWEST”

  14. Like I said in my previous comment…Hollywood does it again with todays Jackpot 1 at Kenilworth…cancelled the bet even though the first leg was run and refuse to do a payout on winning tickets

    1. Editor says:

      Aren’t dividends only declared once two legs of an exotic are run?

  15. Declan Gibbons says:

    I find this quite bizarre that Tony Mincione who is employed by Hollywood comes up with this post. Why did Hollywood just not reply themselves?

  16. Martin le Roux says:

    I don’t want to enter the debate of who is right or wrong but only to say that I find the personal attacks and statements ( not having read any of Mr. Goodman’s fb comments ) deplorable although there is a honourable way out of this for both sides. The argument is not as much about the bet as it is about the odds claimed. In my opinion easy to sort.

  17. Devon Faizal Patrix says:

    Good On ya James. Worked for a bookmaker and know they also take advantages of good odds. Remember how they used to Lumber country bookmakers back in the day¿¿ or when in the know start claims and send ringers to claim odds. Maybe you are upset because you missed the opportunity which I’m sure you would have grabbed, even at 3/1. Not good to Judge. James is and always will be a gambler

  18. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Devon , when I worked for bookmakers in the , 70s they did not need to use ringers to claim odds that was done by the punters themselves standing ten deep around the ring of 20 bookmakers. The green telephone at the ” lead bookmaker ” would ring , he would answer and in a loud voice confirm a big bet for a horse at say 8/1 that was not ready to win. The punters would then clamour for a piece of that action while the bookmakers assistants ran off around the ring claiming 8 /1 , 7s , 6s as the punters fell for the ploy time and again thinking the bookmakers were laying off !

    The only bets entered into the ledgers were those of the punters waiting to get on at 8s , 7s etc. while the bookmakers shouted ” dont worry all of you standing here have all got a bet ” !

    After the horse was 4/1 and the punters had had their fill a bookmaker would shout ” lets make this one 6/1 ” and the clamour would be repeated on a smaller scale !

    This performance was only conducted on certain days at certain times and I was always amazed by how the bookmakers knew when to pull it off with maximum benefits and I was even more amazed how the punters fell for it ?

    Those were the days !

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