Bookmakers will be hoping the new year carries on where 2011 left off after a series of good results for them over Christmas and New Year.
Lorien Pilling, director at specialist gambling consultancy GBGC, commented, “A look at the Festive fixture list in the Premier League would have given the bookmakers some cause for concern because there looked to be some strong home bankers. But results could not have worked out much better for them. The last week of December should certainly have helped boost William Hill’s and Ladbrokes’ profits just before their financial year closed”.
It got even better for the bookmakers over New Year with Chelsea losing 1-3 at home to Aston Villa, Tottenham drawing away at newly promoted Swansea, and Manchester United contriving to lose 2-3 at Old Trafford to bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers.
On New Year’s Day, Manchester City’s defeat in injury time to a reinvigorated Sunderland really put the fairy on top of the Christmas tree for the bookmakers.
But the good run of results was not confined to the football.
Long Run’s (even money favourite) defeat to Kauto Star in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park was not good for punters and a number of well-fancied horses also failed to deliver at Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day meeting.
Mostly Bob’s victory in the Raceodds Handicap Chase did give punters hope for 2012. It was a case of “gamble landed” when Philip Hobbs’ nine-year old won well from Mon Mome. Mostly Bob had been backed in from double-figure odds to return the 9/2 joint favourite.
Bookmakers will want 2012 to be a year of unpredictability with wide open challenges for the titles in the key European football leagues and a surprise winner of the Euro Championships in the Summer.