Hi David, and many thanks for joining us this month, first off would you start by telling our readers a little about yourself and your background?
Would you say that you have a “typical” working day, and how would you describe it?
After dropping the kids at school, I generally get started around 9am and initially review issues and performance from the previous day. Thereafter I focus on new content and marketing for the rest of the day generally finishing about 5pm and later doing an hour or two in the evening.
Weekends I normally do 2-3 hours on a Saturday and Sunday.
During your time as a betting shop owner, you must have come across some characters, do you have any stories you can you tell us of the day-to-day goings on you can share with our readers.
Yes, there were many great characters in the betting shops, and we had a policy of always trying to lay odds on customers requested bets.
In one shop the local villain was convinced his newly born son was going to be heavyweight boxing champion of the world. With some trepidation we offered him odds of 1000/1 and he quickly had a £10 bet.
This was OK but then three brothers wanted the same bet and we had to reduce the odds to 500/1 – That was very difficult for the Shop manager to explain at the time when they had all had a few drinks!
New and old punters alike can struggle to make a success of their betting. If you could give them just one piece of advice to improve their profitability what would it be?
Be very selective, generally just bet singles and make the most of all the generous betting offers around.
Do you regularly bet yourself? If so, what style of approach do you take to your betting? What do you think of staking plans, loss retrieval systems etc.?
I bet rarely but I am quite happy to have a decent bet if there is some value.
For example, our Horse Racing Tips are carefully researched and provide great value, so I always follow them and look out for other opportunities across other sports.
You sold up your chain of bookmakers only to re-enter the playing field and build up a new chain a couple of years later. Why was this?
I have been betting and laying since I was 14 so it was a no brainer really.
At this time in particular there was still an opportunity to acquire and quickly improve many independent betting shops.
What about on course antics? Any stories from the track side you are willing to share? Do you have any personal racing / betting experiences which when reflecting bring a smile, or for that matter any which bring a grimace; you can share with our readers?
I remember one year standing on the rails at Cheltenham and just before the Coral Cup on Day 2 (about halfway through the Festival) we were approximately £50k down and really struggling for cash! – We managed to win that race and the rest of the meeting went very well and we amazingly were around £40k ahead over the week!
Whichbookie.co.uk offers free racing tips among other services including bookmaker reviews. What led to this move and do you feel that that there is a future for bookmakers?
I have known Will Smith for several years and he previously supplied tips to a previous website I owned.
When I realised Will was available again, I knew it was a great opportunity to be able to work with him again and offer WhichBookie readers top class Free Racing Tips.
Are high street bookies just FOBT casinos these days, does any real punting still go on in the shops? Is there room for independent bookmakers or have those days gone?
It is more and more difficult for Independent Bookies to survive and almost impossible for them to scale the business nowadays.
Over the counter business is falling away every year and the overall trend is irreversible.
What do you think motivates the average horse racing punter, are they serious about winning over the long term or happy to be a winner for a day and have the shop bragging rights?
Not sure about shop bragging rights but many horse racing punters just really enjoy the sport as I do and get great entertainment from watching live coverage, particularly on weekends.
What do you do to relax and unwind? What interests have you outside the world of horse racing?
I have always been a very keen Sunderland supporter and watch them whenever possible, they are not always the easiest team to support, however.
Otherwise, I play a lot of golf and do a fair bit of mountain biking.
For free tips and all the latest bookie offers visit www.whichbookie.co.uk