British bookmakers are reeling after suffering combined losses of £30 million following the weekend’s football matches. All seven of the Premier League's top teams won their respective matches this week causing unprecedented losses for big high-street bookies.
Ladbrokes estimated the total cost to bookmakers at £20 million, while Gala Coral were less optimistic and increased their take on the figure to much more ghastly £30 million. Regardless of the actual figure, any significant loss does not bode well for shareholders in Ladbrokes, or William Hill who have seen the value of their investments slashed in recent weeks after comments from Prime Minister David Cameron regarding fixed-odds betting terminals and the UK Gambling Tax Bill making it to the House of Lords.
William Hill spokeswoman Kate Miller said: “It was another ‘magnificent seven’ for football customers over the weekend, with the top seven in the league all hammering the bookmakers with winning results.”
Of course, this is not the first time a string of unlikely results have gone in punters’ favour and cost bookmakers an astronomical sum. On September 28, 1996, Frankie Dettori won each of the seven races on the card at the Ascot Festival – hence Miller’s ‘magnificent seven’ reference — and cost the betting industry an estimate £30 million, including one lucky customer who won more than £500,000 from his 25,051-to-1 accumulator bet.
Both Ladbrokes and William Hill issue trading updates to investors this week and will be happy that these latest large losses will not be included in those figures as the updates cover the period to the end of 2013.