Odds, football sponsorship and Australia | My week in iGaming

Odds, football sponsorship and Australia | My week in iGaming
Simon Wooldridge
by Simon Wooldridge Last updated:

Late June 2024, somewhere in the middle of England...


In all honesty after England’s rather turgid displays against Slovenia and Denmark in the Euros (following a pretty lacklustre victory over Serbia) I would have expected better odds for them to win the tournament than the measly 4/1 shown on Oddschecker today (Wednesday 26 June). The 4/1 odds makes them favourites! (Though only because some the better teams have to play each other in the next round.) I would’ve thought the Italy or Belgium odds territory of somewhere around 18/1 might have been closer to the mark. 

I'd like to say I'm looking forward to England's next game...

General election betting

Bet365 has Labour at 200/1 ON to win the General Election in a couple of weeks. They’re not alone. Others have them at the same while the more pessimistic in the industry such as Betway and Betfair are only offering 1/50 and 1/20 respectively. 

Reform has thrown a spanner in the works of the right-leaning vote. It’s not difficult to envisage the Tories and Reform getting as many or more votes, combined, than Starmer et al, but the chances of any kind of right-leaning party forming a government seem to be zero – or more precisely in the 1/33 to 1/80 region.

Compulsory voting and proportional representation would not only make the betting more interesting, it would be better for the country. 

More on understanding numbers (or not, perhaps) 

A couple of weeks ago I went to The 2024 Rothesay Open Nottingham. Four of us enjoyed an afternoon’s tennis for a very reasonable £10 each (though I don’t really know how the additional £3 booking fee was justified). On the subject of odds again, we saw a 9,999+ world ranked outside beat a 220-something world ranked player...

Anyway, checking the website the day before I was pleased to note that patrons could bring their own booze – albeit limited to a bottle of wine per person or a maximum of 2 cans of beer, cider or whatever per person. We took 8 cans. But we were stopped by security at the gate.

‘What’s the problem?’ we asked.

‘Your website says people can bring 2 cans each.’ I helpfully reminded them.

‘Yeah, but there’s…’ the security guard started counting. ‘...there’s 8 in that bag.’

‘Yes. And there’s 4 of us.’

‘I need to check this,’ he said and started talking into a walkie-talkie.

Maths clearly wasn’t one of this guy’s strengths, but pedantry was.

‘Will this make it easier?’ I said, taking the 8 cans out the bag and distributing them, 2 each, amongst our group. We then walked through, each holding up 2 cans. That seemed to satisfy him.

William Hill sponsorship deal

William Hill is the new, 5-year sponsor (‘official betting partner’) of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL). The deal covers all 42 teams across 4 divisions in the league – from the might of Rangers and Celtic to the likes of Stranraer, average home attendance 399 in 2023-24, in the 4th tier.

What interested me is the statement from the league:

“William Hill is a name long associated with Scottish football and we are enormously excited to have reached a long-term, record-breaking agreement with our new title sponsors. This is tremendous news for our clubs and their fans, for the profile of the league, and for Scottish football in general," said SPFL Group Chief Executive, Neil Doncaster.

Just how is it "tremendous news for our clubs and their fans". No disrespect to William Hill, but what difference does it make to Billy 'Bluenose' Armstrong and Sean O’Flaherty, enjoying a robust pre-Old Firm game exchange of views, who sponsors the league their teams play in?

I mean, does anyone on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow an hour or two before kick-off thinking about having a punt say to themselves: 

“I fancy having a bet but I don’t know where the nearest William Hill is.”  

“Aye, Tam,” says his mate, “and as they sponsor the League they’re the only bookies I’ll go into.”

“Everyone at the SPFL is looking forward to working with William Hill to promote the passion, drama and excitement of the League and its 42 clubs over the next five season,” said Mr Doncaster. Yes, of course they are. However, I think would be a lot more exciting if someone other than Celtic or Rangers won the league for the first time since Aberdeen in 1985.

Football sponsors (other)

A day or two after I go to a Brentford home game I always seem to get an email about my ‘matchday experience’.

Did I find the experience ‘inclusive’ is usually how it starts, or words to that effect. Then I get asked about the quality of the food in the stadium (which I never eat) and what my main method of transport to the game was. London clubs seem to be in a race to have the biggest proportion of public transport users. I presume they need that data to support ‘ESG targets’, which will be used to appease the wokerati scrutinising their annual reports. They also seem eager to please that awful mayor of theirs.

Then the email moves onto the sponsorship questions. Which of these brand names do I recognise? Which of these brands have I bought? Did I know that these brands are ‘official partners’ of the club? Now knowing that these brands are official sponsors of the club am I any more inclined to buy them? And on it goes. Do they have any idea how few people care?

And from a land Down Under…

The Aussies like a bet. But it’s a troubled relationship. 

Before the ‘pokies’ were legalised in the State of Victoria in the 1990s busloads of punters used to travel north into New South Wales to play the pokies in pubs and clubs north of the Murray. An estimated  $400 million in gambling money was being spent outside the spenders’ home state each year.

When I first lived in Victoria in 2001 I was dazzled by the then still quite flash Crown Casino on the south bank of Melbourne’s river, the Yarra. To walk, inside, from one end of the casino to the other was reportedly more than a kilometre. It sounds a lot but it is the largest casino in the southern hemisphere and it does house 2,628 poker machines and 540 table games. In the 1990s and early 2000s Crown was also a regular hang-out for a lot of the local mobsters – Alphonse Gangitano, Mario Condello, the Morans, Carl Williams, Andrew Veniamin, Dino Dibra, Mick Gatto and others. They were lionised in a series of television dramas a little later. Most are now dead, but it was good TV for a while though.

But it’s across the state border, the other way, in South Australia that some recent news grabbed my attention. 

SkyCity Adelaide was ordered to pay A$67m to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre for a breach of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism (AML/CTF) laws. Wow! That’s pretty heavy. The Federal Court of Australia doesn’t mess about. On top of the fine SkyCity had to fork out AU$3m in costs.

The fine relates to contraventions of the AML/CTF Act between 2016 and 2022.

SkyCity agreed that the contraventions “made it vulnerable to criminal exploitation, and exposed the Australian community and financial system to money laundering and terrorism financing risk”. They were accused of not having the “appropriate framework to ensure adequate board and senior management oversight of its AML/CTF programs”.

So, while no one, I would hazard a guess, thinks that SkyCity was actively encouraging either money laundering or the funding of terrorism there is a moral to the story: compliance. Make sure you cross your i’s and dot your t’s, or something like that.

Adelaide is a strange town though. To get a bit more of a feel about the place check out two films: Alexandra’s Project and Snowtown based in South Australia. And Snowtown is based on real events…


I’ll be back after the Election or Euros final sometime in mid-July. 

Simon Wooldridge
by Simon Wooldridge Last updated:

Simon’s long-term fascination with slots started with teasing 40p worth of change from the skilful spinning of 10p coins into a fruit machine in the last century. This has grown recently to a solid appreciation for the often dazzling artistry, imagination and mechanics of modern online slots.