Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Secret to Being a "Good" Loser

No, I didn’t manage to back Aurora’s Encore in the Grand National either. The secret, I find, to being a good loser is not to mind too much. It helps if you can think of positive reasons why losing is a good thing. 

When I started punting I used to console myself that each loser brought me one step closer to the next winner. This optimism finally wore off after a particularly long losing streak, when I adopted a new philosophy – the more I lost, the more someone else was winning – and isn’t that nice! 

Fortunately this year’s Grand National provided lots of reasons for happiness. Firstly, it has been much commented on that no horse or jockey was injured – but it was better than that. Did you notice that, despite a few jockeys being unseated, only two horses actually fell during the whole race? It’s probably a bit too early to assess the real impact of the changes made to the course and fences, but there was no diminution of the spectacle and this year’s race was undoubtedly better for being injury free. 

Secondly, the fact that the bookmakers have enjoyed a huge windfall is not entirely negative for the sport. Bookmakers based in Britain are obliged to make a payment to the Horserace Betting Levy Board which equates to roughly 10% of the gross profits that they enjoy from horseracing. In 2013 the Levy Board will distribute, in round terms, about £76 million to the racing industry – paying for integrity services at every racecourse in Britain, research into equine fertility, assistance for a variety of horse and pony breeds and a contribution to prize money for races from Cartmel to Kempton. 

British bookmakers are also taxed by the Government, at a rate of 15% of their gross profits; so in losing your money you’ve also contributed towards various essential services such as the police and the NHS. Give yourself a pat on the back and thank heavens you didn’t back the 66/1 winner of the race! 

But if you backed a loser with a bookmaker based overseas – and this will include most telephone or internet betting services, even if the same firm operates high street betting shops in the UK, all your losses will have been lost forever. They’ll be no benefits for your local racecourse and none for your local hospital. If you want to be a good loser, make sure you bet with a British based bookmaker.

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