Another Own Goal?

Soccer 13 starts Friday 18 May. Should horseracing fans be excited?

In The Air? How excited should we really be getting?

A rather quiet weekend of horseracing lies ahead with just three local meetings scheduled in the space of 72 hours. TAB and Phumelela Gaming & Leisure have thus timed the launch of their new Soccer 13 bet rather sweetly.

The question the equine purists will be asking is what energy is genuinely being expended on preserving the ethos of horseracing and ensuring the survival of the sport? And do we really need more R1-20 punters in the totes that are only very indirectly supporting horseracing? And is this just another means of sucking the horseracing pool pot dry?

The promotional blurb tells us that at R1-20(you read correctly!) the Soccer 13 is the lowest minimum bet and offers the biggest pools and dividends in TAB’s history.

The pool offers an average R20 million every week, with an average dividend of R2 million and a guaranteed minimum pay out of over R10 million for a single ticket winner.

The inaugural Soccer 13 will open on Friday 18 May at TAB outlets across the country and the pool closes at 14h00 on Saturday 19 May.The Soccer 13 requires participants to select the result for 13 pre-determined soccer matches from three possibilities: a home win, draw or an away win.

Sponsoring Racing? Svenska Spel will be making a pretty packet one imagines.

It is hosted by Svenska Spel, a state-owned company operating in the regulated gambling market in Sweden. The company was founded in 1997 through the merger of the two state companies, Penninglotteriet  and Tipstjänst . Their head-office is located in Visby, Sweden. The company conducts sales through approximately 6 700 agents, 2 000 restaurants, pubs and bingo halls as well as via the Internet. Through its subsidiary Cosmopol Casino it operates four gaming houses, in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Sundsvall.

Dividends will be paid to punters with 10 or more correct results with a percentage of the pool being shared amongst the winners in each bracket on the following basis:

All 13 matches correct – 40% of the pool (Average pay out: R2 000 000)

(Single ticket winner of 13 from 13 guaranteed over R10 million)

Any 12 matches correct – 12% of the pool (Average pay out: R9 000)

Any 11 matches correct – 15% of the pool (Average pay out: R 485)

Any 10 matches correct – 25% of the pool (Average pay out: R 110)

with the remaining 8% funding the R10 million guaranteed prize.

Eye On The Ball. Horseracing taking a back seat.

The unit of betting is only R1.20 per bet. We have double-checked that.That is rather disturbing as the totes are already hosting a whole new generation of soccer-only gamblers who take up queue space and have no interest in the horsey goings-on around them. The joys and thrills of horseracing are also not marketed or cross-sold to them, so the Soccer 13 is really just another cash cow to bolster the corporate coffers, and not address the ailing and flagging fortunes of the sport of kings.

Should we be questioning the morality and initiative? Probably not. We cannot change reality and the world. But how is it that such amazing international deals can be put together and yet many of our feature races are unsponsored and  horseracing just plods on?

Some of the rules applying:

• The unit of betting (currently R1.20) and prize guarantee is linked to the host country’s currency and may fluctuate over time

• Results are based on the 90 minute result – No extra time or penalties

• A carryover will occur if there are no 13 out of 13 winners and also if any dividend is R15 or less

• A special draw will be conducted to determine the result should a match:

– start before the start of the pool

– be abandoned

– be postponed by more than two days from original scheduling

– not be completed normally

• In the event of a communication breakdown to the host, the pool will be refunded

• Betting closes two hours prior to match kick-off

With the telephone numbers bandied about here, let’s wait and see if Svenska Spel are forthcoming and sponsor a R10 million series of horse races across South Africa as a start.

Then, and only then, will we see the sense, rather than the cents, in it.


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