Archive for June, 2024

On the British Prime Minister’s very own betting scandal

It has been quite remarkable to watch the ongoing saga of the betting scandal surrounding (almost certainly) outgoing British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, which has provided almost the only interesting spectacle in an otherwise quite dull election campaign, with the only other interesting facet being Nigel Farage entering the fray as leader of Reform UK (previously known as the Brexit Party) and managing to get ahead of the Conservatives in a number of polls, although whether this translates to more seats is yet to be seen.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the scandal relates to bets placed on the date on which the UK election would be held. Shortly after Rishi Sunak surprised just about everyone by standing in the pouring rain to announce a July 4 election (a date very few people expected), it came to light that his main protection officer had placed a bet on a July 4 election a few days before the announcement. After that, the scandal grew to encompass the Conservative campaign director, multiple MPs, at least one wife of an MP, and multiple Metropolitan Police officers.

While there is no suggestion that Rishi Sunak instructed anybody to place any bets, it seems clear that he told a few people about the date on which he was going to hold the election, and they thought they could make a few dollars on it. For some this may have been a way of getting something out of their own certain defeat at the polls, while for others it may have just been an opportunity. What’s amazing though is that none of these people seemed to realise that a bunch of bets placed on an unlikely outcome days before the announcement would raise the eyebrows of bookmakers and make them dig into who had placed the bets, or that it might look a bit suspicious that a person with ties to the PM would place a bet on something the PM could conceivably have given them information about.

If one is being uncharitable, one could wonder if perhaps the reason Rishi made the strange pouring-rain announcement was because one of the people who placed a bet rang him up and asked him to hurry up as they needed the payout for their gas bill.

Naturally, I feel a bit left out. It seems that Rishi told everyone except me that he would have a July 4 election. Then again, perhaps he tried. Maybe all of those daily missed calls from a Romanian number were from an agent of his, and they didn’t leave a voicemail because they didn’t want to leave any traces behind.

We have, of course, seen similar things here in Australia. There was a recent case of people with inside information about the Australian Of The Year award getting in trouble for placing bets on what they knew would be the correct outcome. I have to admit I considered doing this one year when I was accidentally sent a copy of the winners list before the announcement, but I didn’t go ahead with it.

I do, however, have my own similar story from the mid-2010s. This didn’t rely on inside information though, and was in fact down to bookmaker error so I couldn’t see any problem with it. After all, the bookmakers can always void a bet if they realise they have made a mistake…but they never did.

My story relates to Time Magazine’s person of the year award. In the mid-2010s, the winner of this award was announced on NBC Today about an hour before it was published on Time Magazine’s website. Australian bookmakers seemed to either be unaware of this, or didn’t care because there was no live airing on NBC Today in this country (Seven aired it early the following morning and received the delayed west coast airing so didn’t have access to the live version). This therefore meant that the betting market remained open for almost a full hour after the announcement was made. So for a few years I would find a not-at-all-legal stream of an east coast NBC affiliate and watch the live announcement of the winner, and then place bets on this outcome wherever I could find decent odds. About an hour later when the announcement was published to Time’s website, I would make a small profit. From memory I think I made about $50 at a time and not all from the same bookmaker, so it wasn’t a big profit but enough to be worthwhile, and generally the winner was one of the favoured outcomes so it probably didn’t seem at all odd or suspicious that someone would bet on it.

I forgot all about it one year, and when I checked again the following year, the bookmakers had worked out that the announcement was being televised prior to online publication and closed their markets at the start of NBC Today, so the loophole was gone.

Was it wrong? Maybe. But I don’t really think so. The bookmakers advertised a closing time matching the time of publication on Time’s website, and I was placing bets based on publicly available information. I wasn’t using secret information. Also, as the bookmakers had the power to retrospectively void bets if they decided the market should have been closed earlier, as far as I was concerned it was their mistake to not know as much as they should have known about their own markets. To my mind, this is not at all the same thing as the naughty fraud of being provided with outcomes ahead of time and betting on them. But maybe that’s just me, and the shades of grey might look different to others.

None-the-less, it does bring me back to Rishi and friends and the broader concept that it is remarkable to me that bookmakers have so many markets where certain people can know the outcome ahead of time. Everything from award winners and interest rate decisions to election dates to who will perform at half time of the Super Bowl. It really seems to be asking for trouble for bookmakers to open themselves up to the possibility that people who know things may bet and go undetected. I’m sure that for all of the ones we’ve heard about lately who have been detected, many many more slip through the net. It also seems to me that if bookmakers have such markets, they should wear the risk of insider knowledge and not be able to void bets or ban or prosecute people after the fact. If they don’t want the risk, they shouldn’t have the market.

But that’s just me. And I know my libertarian viewpoint on such matters doesn’t align, and probably never will align, with any form of regulation.


2 comments June 28th, 2024 at 04:36am

Some tutorials on the ANZ Horse Ratings Analyser spreadsheet

After the previous rather long video covering the ANZ Horse Ratings and Analyser and how it can be used to improve selections and profitability, this week I am working through a few tutorials on how to set up the Analyser spreadsheet and import data, either to analyse large amounts of previous races or specific types of races, and also how to look ahead at a day’s races and get a listing of the horses which meet your criteria.

Part 1 – Sanitising and importing data

Part 2 – targeting specific days and tracks (with Pebbles’ squeaky ball in the background)

Part 3 – Getting selections before the day’s races begin

In all of these videos I’m demonstrating functions of the ANZ Ratings and Analyser spreadsheet.


1 comment June 23rd, 2024 at 06:48pm

The Sunday Share: Songs which have been themes for talk radio: John Kerr

For eleven years, John Kerr hosted New Day Australia on weeknights on a number of stations across Australia, headquartered at Sydney’s 2UE. For much of that time he used a very fitting song to end his broadcasts, with lyrics noting that “we’ve talked the whole night through”. It was the song Good Mornin’ from Singin’ In The Rain.

Later, when John hosted the weekend version of New Day Australia, he occasionally used the song to end the show, however for a lot of his weekend reign his show ended on 2UE earlier than it ended on the network so there wasn’t really an appropriate time to play the song. John moved to the Gold Coast while still hosting the weekend edition of New Day Australia and 2UE graciously paid for flights and accommodation in Sydney so he could continue to host the show, however eventually John retired from commercial radio. Thankfully John didn’t give up radio altogether and these days hosts an excellent country music show on Friday nights on Gold Coast community radio station 94.1FM.


Add comment June 23rd, 2024 at 10:35am

The Sunday Share: Songs which have been themes for Talk Radio: Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity tends to have very very long openers for his show, combining clips of multiple songs with clips of various politicians and newsmakers. Unfortunately with the lengthy commercials breaks it does eat into the useful program time in each hour, but I digress.

For a few years around 2009, Sean used the chorus of Martina McBride’s Independence Day as one of the bits of music in his opener. It is a very powerful piece of music. I wish he still used it to this day, but alas.


1 comment June 16th, 2024 at 11:23pm

A thank you to all of you

A quick note of thanks to all of you who chipped in to help out Frankster in his hour of need.

A few months back I posted information about Frankster’s difficulties in finding suitable accommodation after a series of personal tragedies. It has taken a lot of time, much support from a number of people including kind readers of this blog who donated to help out, and a lot of patience and effort from Frank himself, but I am pleased to say that in the last week, Frank has been able to return from exile in temporary accommodation in Katoomba and now has a small place to call his own back in the heart of Sydney’s inner-west, near his medical team and probably more importantly, within a reasonable distance of employment which has recently come his way.

It was my pleasure, albeit at short notice and on very little sleep, to make a trip up to Sydney last week to assist Frank in making the move. Even the pouring rain making it almost impossible to see on my way both there and back wasn’t enough to deter me from helping Frank with this important milestone.

Many thanks to all of you who helped and those who offered advice as well. I know Frank is extremely grateful to everyone as well.


1 comment June 12th, 2024 at 09:22pm

Harnessing the power of stats to improve profits in automated betting

In this video I demonstrate how the power of stats and form can be used to improve the selection criteria and the profits in automated betting on horse racing.

In this video I’m using:
ANZ Horse Bot
ANZ Horse Ratings and ANZ Ratings Analyser

The video ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated, and there’s still more to cover in a future video or two, so to help you navigate it, chapters have been added accordingly.

00:00 Introduction
01:49 Recent results
05:13 Configuring stats filters in ANZ Horse Bot
06:24 The stats the bot is using
07:20 The stats engine: ANZ Horse Ratings
11:35 Using the ANZ Ratings Analyser to hone strategies
19:20 Configuring the best performing strategy in the Analyser and Bot
20:20 Building and testing new strategies in the Analyser
25:22 Exploring results in the analyser
27:20 Some high-priced winners from Saturday
28:24 How the bot used the stats to find the winner of Belmont race 4
31:10 Using the analyser to check your strategies are performing as they should
33:38 The settings for the 2nd best strategy
36:01 The first winner for the day pays $8.40
36:51 Summary


2 comments June 11th, 2024 at 06:39pm

The Sunday Share: Songs which have been the theme song for talk radio: Jim Ball

Back when Jim Ball was the overnight host on Sydney’s 2GB, he used Paul Kelly’s “Sydney From A 747” as his theme song, at least until circumstances changed.

When Macquarie Radio made an arrangement with Pacific Star to turn Melbourne’s 3MP 1377 in to Melbourne Talk Radio MTR 1377, Jim’s show was networked into Melbourne and it became inappropriate for Sydney From A 747 to continue to be used for the show. Instead, he opted to use Peggy Lee’s “It’s A Good Day” which had previously been used as his closing theme.

There was a period of time where Jim moved to 2UE (where he was again syndicated) and then moved back to 2GB. My recollection of this is hazy but I think the Peggy Lee song continued to be his theme music during this time.


Add comment June 9th, 2024 at 10:03pm

The Sunday Share: Songs which have been theme songs for talk radio: Rush Limbaugh

For the majority of Rush Limbaugh’s 30+ years on the air, th instrumental portions of this song greeted the airwaves at six past the hour, three times per day, five days per week. It became as much an icon of the American media landscape as Rush himself. There was a clever edit at about the 30 second mark to jump to another instrumental section around the 2:28 mark which was Rush’s cue to begin talking.

Rush picked this song as his theme song primarily due to its strong unique bass line, but the irony of a conservative using a very anti-conservative song wasn’t lost on him. There’s a funny loophole in the way royalties work in American radio that using a short clip of a song doesn’t necessarily result in a requirement to pay royalties for its use, so Limbaugh, albeit playing 40-ish seconds of the song across hundreds of radio stations, used the song royalty-free for many years. Eventually EMI issued a cease-and-desist order and Limabugh temporarily stopped using the song. However the song’s writer Chrissie Hynde was interviewed and stated her parents loved Limbaugh’s show and she didn’t mind her music being used in that way. It also helped that around that time, Rush was vocally opposing a plan by the EPA to test chemicals on animals, putting him in rare agreement with PETA which was one of Chrissie Hynde’s favourite organisations, so a payment arrangement was reached and Rush used the song forever more.

After Rush’s passing, the theme song continued to be used during the guest hosts which filled his timeslot and for about a year by Travis Clay and Buck Sexton whose show Premiere Radio moved into Rush’s old timeslot. They now use a different piece of music.

40-odd seconds of intro music might seem like an awful lot, but for whatever reason it has been the standard in syndicated talk radio in the US for a long time. My theory is that as they generally run on a 40 second delay, allowing them to dump a short portion of the delay if necessary without coming out of delay completely, having the long intro allows the show’s producers to be entirely sure they are in delay when the broadcast begins. It also allows affiliate stations to be a little bit late getting into the show without missing anything, and run their own idents over the intro. One of the best examples of this is from this clip from KXNT Las Vegas in 2009 (April 27, to be precise) where the board operator did a masterful job of crossfading the weather bed with Rush’s into under newsreader Kristen Flowers and putting a hybrid station ID / Rush show announcement to air over the intro before Rush began to speak.


Add comment June 2nd, 2024 at 04:55pm

Which greyhound dutching strategies performed the best?

Wrapping up the series on finding value by hedging and dutching greyhounds in Hedge Dog Bot, Samuel looks at the results of the various methods tested in recent weeks and highlights the ones which show the most potential for profit.

Hedge Dog Bot


Add comment June 1st, 2024 at 06:15pm


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