Comments: 214 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

Zeoniic15 karma

How many competitive bookies do you have on the street you work on. There is about... 6 on a 200yard stretch where i live, and about 5 chicken shops. Great area.

Dervinator5 karma

I work in a very small village so just the one. But there are at least 5 within a 15 minute drive. I've seen the roads you describe! It's shocking.

doctor_why2 karma

Obviously you won't be saying the exact village, but could you give a vague indication?

Dervinator5 karma

It's in the south east of England, and is considered in the Greater London area. I understand your curiosity, but providing the location of my village, to me, doesn't seem helpful? If you're looking for an indication of the number of betting shops in the UK hit Google. They. Are. Everywhere.

doctor_why2 karma

Nah, I was just curious. I'm visiting the UK at the moment from the US and seeing a shop that will most certainly never exist where I'm from seems interesting to me.

Dervinator2 karma

OK not to worry, I'm just a bit paranoid! Security are not friendly people. You will almost certainly find a betting shop no matter where you're staying my friend, how long you last in there is down to you!

LovelyJubbleyy1 karma

Soo.... close to Tunbridge Wells?

Dervinator1 karma

I've heard of that place, so I guess...yes?

yermaaaaa8 karma


Dervinator17 karma

Hello fellow industry worker! You have it to a tee my friend, seen plenty of people lost thousands of pounds and clearly unable to cope. Sadest story of loss, a regular customer in a shop I used to work in had a gambling problem. It was obvious, and his wife came in at one point to yell at him furiously to no avail. I did nothing to my utmost regret, as he wasn't the sort of person to listen to others or acknowledge his problem. I moved shop and 6 months later I found out he had hung himself because he was in so much debt. He had 2 children. I still hate myself for not lifting a finger to help.

wedge772 karma

I saw a Chinese guy lose £5000 on a FOBT machine. Those things are evil.

KHWD4 karma

In every bookie there is a Chinese man playing Roulette. They seriously love to fucking gamble.

Dervinator3 karma


Biskeet1 karma

Not that baffling, the Chinese invented gambling.

Dervinator1 karma

Apologies I meant that to mean as in the ratio was baffling, but on further research inspired upon your part it makes sense! Gambling is part of their culture it seems, encouraged to an extent.

A point of interest, our roulette machines have interchangeable background colours, specifically to target this cultural phenomenon. You can change the background to red, and within a training session I was specifically told this is because the "chinese" (as the course director said) "love red, it's their lucky colour". I was told to show this to them.

Hope this is of some interest to yourself.

veertamizhan6 karma

have you ever seen anyone win a fortune?

Dervinator11 karma

Highest payout I saw was £28,000. Very rare.

Jaystar135 karma

What is the craziest thing you've witnessed when working there?

Dervinator20 karma

You see a few crazy customers for sure. One elderly man would always come in screaming "easy, easy!" and when told to keep it down by other customers he would bellow out "It's not me you wanna worry about, it's the bloody Germans!". We have a regular whose about 5ft tall and comes in the shop singing in a high pitched voice, and when told to calm down starts giving you abuse (for banter though).

The top incident however was we once had a gas leak in the shop and the power failed. Whilst we were trying to get our customers evacuated, some were still queing up demanding us to place their bets! Madness.

lokifoto5 karma

Is this even technically legal in the UK or is more of a "Red Light District"?

Dervinator22 karma

It is perfectly legal. There are thousands of these shops all over the UK. My employer alone, one company out of several, has over 2,000 shops in the UK.

woahclaudia9 karma

Totally legal, there's like three on one street in my village

Dervinator10 karma

It's the same for almost every village now. Because the running costs are so low, they spring one up wherever they want. Even if it makes £40 net profit a day, this is money in their pockets they'd rather have.

lokifoto1 karma

That doesn't seem like much money.

Dervinator10 karma

It's not, but if the shop makes a net profit overall, it doesn't matter. It's still an amount. Hence the thousands of shops across the country

Zeoniic5 karma

Biggest tip you have gotten?

Have a few friends who work in betting shops, biggest tip one recieved was £300

Dervinator14 karma

The most I have had is £100. This was a good day. Tips are rare though, as people need to win before they give you one!

iluvatar5 karma

What's the breakdown of income? How much comes from traditional sports betting, and how much has moved to slot machines etc? How long do you think you can keep attracting price insensitive customers, rather than have them just go to betfair?

Dervinator4 karma

Most of our income is generated from the gaming machines, over 70% I believe. People are mad for them, very addictive.

As for the incentives, we give free tea and coffee, but honestly most people come to the shop for the experience. They tend to be older, but even if they don't have money they will still come in for a large amount of the day just for the conversation and the atmosphere. So in my opinion, as long as odds aren't too dissimilar from other bookies people will always come in.

jayadrath4 karma

Is crime rampant there?

Dervinator8 karma

More often than not yes. You get people using stolen money (I witnessed a man places bets with £1,200 all in £1.00 coins stolen from the bar he managed. People often launder money through these places and managers have little incentive to report the crime so mostly do not. I have witnessed several people stealing money as well. Oh and fights have been known to break out from time to time.

bobbycans3 karma

How do you know when someone is laundering and how much return works they expect to get?

Dervinator4 karma

You can normally tell as they place a mass fortune of low odds bets say 1/100. I had regular who came in and was always stoned. He told me he worked as a chef in a school kitchen and he wasn't the most bright fellow. But, he would come in and place thousands of pounds on very low odds favourites, and always request it in cash.

bobbycans2 karma

Have you seen these bets not pay off? What are they betting on, football?

How many years are you doing it? See any kids come in at 18 and bet a pound or two and 5 years later its their wages?

What's the tax on a bet in the UK?

Dervinator8 karma

Yeah they lose sometimes, the guys are often gutted but what can you do!

You raise a good point, I've seen several 18yr olds come in and develop an addiction frighteningly fast. A guy once came in on his 18th birthday and started betting small, couple of pounds. Within 2 months he was doing at least a hundred a day. On anything he could get a bet on. Horrible to watch, poor kid. He's alright now though, he moved to Australia!

Dervinator3 karma

Oh and apologies, as for what they bet on...anything. Literally anything with low odds. It has to be almost a certainty.

Amtiskaw2 karma

So is the idea simply to convert a bunch of 1-pound coins into notes, so they can be used to pay for something big(ish) without drawing suspicion? I don't understand this laundering business.

Dervinator3 karma

The guy using coins used that money to gamble. The laundering means they process the money through the bookies, so when the police ask for proof of where they get the money from, they provide a winning gaming reciept.

mrjones19753 karma

The laundering doesn't relate to coins to notes.

Generally, money laundering related to any money acquired through illegal means, (e.g. theft/drugs/whatever), which is then spent on something that can then provide legal returns. Bettign is good because it's a cash business and gambling gains aren't additionally taxable beyond the initial tax on the payout.

Not sure why the coins had any relevance - in the example OP gave, the guy working in the bar could equally have easily have swapped the coins in his place of work to notes, and then spent those instead.

Laundering actually only works if you then want to 'cash in' the money legally - people who are asking for their returns in cash are simply trying to keep their money out of the system. That's not laundering, that's just tax evasion.

Dervinator1 karma

I was using the coins guy as an example of a man using money he had stolen from work to gamble with, not money laundering. Apologies for the confusion!

bobbycans1 karma

Oh, and one more question. "Virtual racing". Is it predetermined or is the race winner chosen on how the betting has gone? Maybe you can't know the anaer to that but of you were to guess.

Do you gamble yourself? Ever given a decent tip?

Dervinator3 karma

We are told that the race winner is determined by a random number generator, so basically the winner is determined as soon as the race begins. But hey, I know the people I work for, so don't trust that information too much.

Biskeet2 karma

Drug dealers and the like tend to come into my shop and try and launder money using the machines, usually by just dumping a shit load of money in, then immediately hitting the pay out button, without spinning anything, so we can give them clean money. In cases like that, we just open the machine and give them their dirty money back, as it's obvious when they're doing it and very easy to spot/check.

Dervinator1 karma

I'm glad you take action! I've worked with several managers that just didn't care.

Biskeet1 karma

Yeah, pretty much depends on the manager and how busy the shop is.

Dervinator1 karma

Exactly. I have managed on occasions. This is position called an "opener and closer" or "2.5". They fill in managerial gaps but are not fully designated managers on a salary, we are given acting pay.

I have worked when the shop is so busy and you are attempting to balance so many customers demands that it simply isn't possible.

I have worked with a manager who knew a customer was doing such activity, but because of his friendly nature and likeability they saw no reason to report the activity.

Jaystar133 karma

What is the most your shop has had to pay out on a single bet?

Dervinator10 karma

£28,000 for a £1 football accumulator. Massive. Interesting to note though, we have a maximum payout which I believe is £1,000,000. So if your bets winnings exceed that amount, bad luck.

lokifoto1 karma

do you let your bettors know of the odds to money down ratio or expect them to figure it out? edit:as to the 1m pound limit.

Dervinator6 karma

The slip tells them how much they will win if the whole accumulator wins if this is what you're reffering too...if you mean how much they've lost as to how much they've won, no they have to work that out themselves. I also tell them they can only win one million as many are unaware (the rule is hidden amongst thousands on a "fair deal rules" poster in the corner)

poloport0 karma

we have a maximum payout which I believe is £1,000,000

Is that even legal? O.o

rreform2 karma

Not only that, bookies do not legally have to honour any winning bet. They just do it because it would ruin their business not to.

poloport1 karma

That doesn't seem right... Wouldn't it be a breach of contract, or something like that?

rreform1 karma

Actually I did some research and the law changed in 2005.

Here's the situation before. Gambling debts were "debts of honour" and not legally enforcable. After 2005, they are a legally binding contract.

Dervinator1 karma

Exactly. The government has a board called The Gambling Commission who oversee the betting industry, making sure it's fair, protects the youth and the vulnerable and doesn't get flooded with crime. The companies sort of skirt around the procedures though, and although the commission is supposed to inspect shops to check they are adhering to procedure, I have worked for 3 years and never been present for such an inspection.

Eos_3 karma

Im sorry but I have never heard the term betting shop so pardon my silly questions but... What is a betting shop and what do you have to do for your job?

Dervinator10 karma

A betting shop is an establishment that normally holds 4 roulette/slot gaming machines and televised horse/dog racing and sports. My job is to (from behind a glass screen to prevent robbery/assault) place the bets customers wish to stake on these events. The shops are on average open 8am until 10pm and have 2 members of staff. We experience all types of society, but these places tend to attract individuals with issues i.e. problem gamblers, homeless people, travellers. They can be fun, they can be horrible.

VanDerLinde12 karma

And, like me, students. Students who whimsically wonder in on a Saturday before the 3pm kick-offs, sure in the knowledge that this is the day that we'll win £145,629.83 on a 16 fold that spans all the football leagues off a £1. But then I suppose you could say we have issues when we are shocked we don't win and still find ourselves in there again the next Saturday with our £1.

Dervinator12 karma

Statistically you have way more chance of winning that than the lottery, so don't beat yourself up about it. Just make sure you only spend a quid!

Irrelevant_Goat6 karma

Do you accept eels or manta rays as well?

Dervinator31 karma

No, there's always something fishy about them.

lokifoto3 karma

What was the silliest thing you have given a bet to, what were the odds and the outcome?

edit: I've read that you can bet on almost anything in some of the U.K. houses.

Dervinator13 karma

One regular placed a bet for a fellow customer to die that day at 100/1...it did not win

lokifoto6 karma

Thats not silly. Thats fucking creepy. Tell me something silly.

Dervinator10 karma

Haha ok fair point. Best I got after that is one guy bet on the river Thames to freeze over 2 years ago. Sorry, I feel like I've let you down.

lokifoto5 karma

I'm guessing he didn't win.

Dervinator7 karma

Good guess.

lordweiner271 karma

Whoa, so how does a bet like this work? Do I just come in the shop and tell you the bet I want. How do you get approval for the bet and figure out the odds?

Dervinator3 karma

You ask for the bet. I have a good old laugh about how stupid it is, then ring a specific number. The person on the other end and I both laugh at your expense, then they figure out the odds. I then put the bet through the till and voila! But this can take up to 30 minutes, mainly depending on how obscene the bet is.

breon1232 karma

1) What do you think of online bookies who limit successful players' accounts because they are a 'trading risk' 2) Tell us about some of the regular characters in the shop

Dervinator8 karma

In my opinion I think it's incredibly harsh to limit successful players, but it's understandable considering the nature of the business. In my shop I take as little action against these players as I can until force to do so, as I like seeing people win and at the end of the day it doesn't effect my wage.

As for regulars I have made a previous post on this, have a check (sorry but I have a lot of weird regulars!)

RXRob2 karma

I used to do your job (for Betfred) and that list of regular customers sounds way too familiar. I also did a similar AMA over a year ago.

What's the stupidest thing you've ever seen a customer do?

What's been your scariest experience?

Are you a gambling man yourself or has the job put you off?

Dervinator2 karma

Stupidest thing I've ever seen a customer do?? Well many have opened up when they are clearly inebriated which is always funny, but the one that takes the biscuit is a regular who once urinated himself. Another one regularly lights up fags before we tell him smoking has been banned indoors for nearly 6 years now.

The scariest experience? Well, I once had to tell a traveler, if you are familiar with their kind, that I did not have enough money to pay him out. He called down 2 of his cronies and demanded I sort it out. I sat there trying desperately to get money for 2 hours, eventually having someone from another shop deliver it. Afterwards he thanked me for my efforts, and said it was just as well he received it because otherwise he would have had to smash the shop up! What a lovely fellow.

I have dabbled in gambling, mainly due to boredom when I'm working (for long periods in our shop there will be 1 or 0 customers in sometimes for up to 3 hours) but seeing people lose so much money has put me off. You quickly realise those that win, as the cliche goes, "end up putting it all back"

RXRob1 karma

Thanks for the answers :)

My stupidest customer spent a good ten minutes studying the TV for a six dog race. He then placed a bet on number 7. We decided to see how long it would take him to realise his mistake (it was on of those regular dead evenings). He didn't, he watched the race, looked annoyed that number 7 didn't win and then asked us if we had any jobs going.

Dervinator2 karma

Hahaha, you win that one! Genius.

bobbycans2 karma

They would even bet on horses? Or are odds never going do get as low as they want? Surely England vs Faroe Islands is the best kind of thing?

Dervinator5 karma

Yeah anything. The horse Frankel is a good example, never lost a race. Some would do odds of 1/4 or lower which you can find very often. Another trick is to feed all their launderings into a gaming machine, have a few spins, then print the ticket. They can then provide the ticket with the amount on as proof they won it in a bookies.

Exospacefart2 karma

Can I walk in to a bookies and put a bet on when I think they might lock up Gary Glitter?

Dervinator5 karma

You could try...and I would love to see you do so. But I doubt they would take the bet.

Billy6532 karma

Can I bet on my friend becoming an MP and or prime minister? What are the odds?

How are odds calculated?

Will the bet be active until he dies?

Dervinator3 karma

Yeah pretty sure you could bet on that. Odds would be calculated by a separate office, as to how I have no idea. Probably guess work.

And yes the bet would be active until he dies. If he's on life support, an honorary membership would not count.

Billy6532 karma

I have never betted, would I have to take my friend into the betting shop? What kind of proof would they require if at all?

Dervinator5 karma

I'm completelt unsure to be honest, such a bet is not something I've come across, best to go to a local betting shop and ask or ring a customer services.

If they ask for a photo, dress him in a jacket with ripped sleeves and dirty trousers. Just to boost the odds a bit.

wags832 karma

I've heard that these betting shops allow a lot of unusual bets. How much latitude do you have to accept bets on unusual things? Is everything controlled by a central office? Or could I come in and say that I want to bet on, say the weather next Tuesday, and get a wager?

Dervinator2 karma

We offer odds on many events, but the bets you're talking of are custom bets as they are rare/unusual. These are worked by a central office, yes. As to how...your guess is as good as mine!

Bobalobadingdong2 karma

Thoughts and info on video game betting?

Dervinator2 karma

Not really my strong suit, only knowledge I have of such a thing is the Arena feature on FIFA 13...I could see the fun nature in that but the feature allowing you to gamble in excess of £100 on a match seemed a bit bewildering...any thoughts from yourself?

zorson2 karma

Bookies are some of the most depressing places in the world.

Dervinator3 karma

Not all, they entirely depend on the customers. I have a laugh with my customers often. I had a makeshift dart throwing competition with one the other day in the middle of the shop! And I won like a boss.

amf132 karma


Dervinator4 karma

Our odds come from what are called "traders" and "compilers". They have their own seperate facilities. They generate the odds by examining markets from betfair and all other competitors, and balance them accordingly.

North American sports betting is very rare and tends to be mostly done by immigrants from the country itself. It is available, but not very popular at all.

amf132 karma


Dervinator5 karma

Most are leisure yes. However we do get some arbitration gamblers in. These people exploit a difference in prices to guarantee a return no matter the outcome. Company attempts to eliminate these but they are rife. Very good way of making money by the way, my co-worker actually knows one. An "arb player" they call them. He is a millionaire.

amf132 karma


Dervinator2 karma

Arb Players use the books of different bettong companies to achieve this.

We normally know who is in this game as we have teams who are trained to spot these gaps in the market, working in a separate department. They calculate limits on the bets when they are spotted, and these limits are communicated to us.

I.E. Max bet on Arsenal to win @ 7/4 £100...offer balance @ 6/4

You get in very little trouble if you ingnore these messages thoigh, and often staff behind the counter will tell an Arb Player they know to come to their shop in order to place their bets and recieve a cut.

Lumpyproletarian2 karma

I worked in a bookies 30 years ago, when they were even more depressing because they were by law required not to make the places attractive - no tea/coffee, no loos, no chairs even.

I still remember the little wooden pigeon holes where they put the winning bets - and the enormous cardboard boxes on the floor where the losing ones went.

Dervinator2 karma

I have a customer who used to work in one yes...the word he uses most regularly is "ghastly".

n4rgol2 karma

I won a bet at Coral for the Euro 2012 but I still havent picked up my winnings and the slip doesnt have an expiry date. How long do you get to collect winnings?

Dervinator2 karma

You can collect the winnings whenever. Past about 2 months it will be a pain in the arse for them to find and they will more than likely have to ring up security to verify it, but as I said, any time as long as it won.

Doomtastic2 karma

So, when I was visiting a friend in London over New Years I heard something that I wanted to confirm. Crazy bets can be made at a bet shop, not just sports?

Dervinator2 karma

Yes, tailor-made to your desire. Within reason.

Ooer2 karma

Please may you provide proof of who you say you are either in the body of your text or through a message to the mods. Thank you.

Dervinator6 karma

I am who I say I am, the trouble is I recieved a memo from my company directing me slecificslly not do...well, this. So what proof will be required?

lordweiner271 karma

Send the mods a copy of your work ID or pay slip or something. They won't show it to anyone, they'll just mark your AMA as verified. You can even black out your identifying information.

Dervinator1 karma

Thanks but I've achieved what I wanted to do here now so thats alot of effort to be honest. If people wish to believe a guy would make up the fact that he works behind a betting shop counter so be it, at least I know I'm not lying :-)

techiebabe2 karma

It was a mod who requested proof, it may be a hassle to snap a payslip or namebadge and send it to to the mods, but it would be respectful to do so.

It would also be a shame if your IAMA was removed due to lack of proof, which the rules do state can happen.

Just saying!

Dervinator2 karma

Ah OK I have no idea how to send that stuff...but I will try. Thanks!

Dervinator2 karma

Proof sent. Thank you for pointing that out...

Dervinator3 karma

Specifically*, my apologies.

ESFJ2 karma

I am majoring in mathematics and I am very interested in the gambling industry.

1) What is it like working in gambling? Is there are large cultural difference? Is it more corporate or more wild gambling types?

2) What is the recruiting like? I know that contacts are important everywhere but who is it in the gambling industry? Is it possible to get in without contacts?

Dervinator2 karma

Ok my friend I will try and help you out...

1) The industry has it's ups and downs, and you can read from the comments posted on here. There is a cultural mixture, a large differentiation really, I have regulars who are the rich suited type spending hundreds a go, right down to the guys who are penniless with no better place to hang out so stick around for the atmosphere (they do stink though!) You get a wholesale mixture, an very balanced one from my experience. On that note I have tended to notice, if a regular customer doesn't come in for a while, a stranger will then become a regular and take his place in almost the same betting fashion, stakes and event wise. Very strange occurrence!

2) The gambling industry is extremely easy to get into, but tend to have a high staff turnover due to the stress the job can bring. Contacts are the only way to go far at a quick pace in the industry. I was working under one district manager (they oversee roughly 30 shops from their office base) who was utterly useless, but was fast-tracked into the job as he was good friends with an area manager (they oversee about 100 or so shops, the next step up from district manager). He was AWFUL and got peoples wages wrong on a monthly basis, among many faults. I am now working under a new district manager who has a bachelors degree in maths with probability as his focus, but, because of lack of contacts it took him 10 years to be promoted out of the shops and into the office positions of upper-management.

If you were to take your interest further and look at jobs involving serious mathematics, I would look at the position of Sports Trader. They are the guys who calculate odds and give specific odds to specific customers depending on their stakes etc, challenging but working with up-and-coming companies they can make serious money.

Hope that goes some way to helping!

ox_2 karma

There's a lot of talk about banning high stakes gambling machines recently. Do you think they're a problem? Significantly more than traditional betting?

I heard a betting shop PR rep on 5Live talking about how betting shops are fun places to go with your mates and have banter with the people working there. Does that sound anything like reality at all? Whenever I've been to a bookies it's generally 4 old men staring sadly at a greyhounds race.

He also said betting shop employees were all trained to spot problem gamblers and help them find help. Are you really encouraged to do this?

How do you compile the odds if someone comes in with a random bet? For example, if I said I bet my nephew will play for England or something like that.

Dervinator5 karma

Great question. Gaming machines are a huge problem, they are much more addictive than regular betting, and I can say this with a wealth lf experience. I believe they shouls be banned.

The atmosphere depends entirely upon the customers, we have ones who have banter, a laugh and enjoy themselves. Then we have those who hate the world and everyone on it. You get a well defined balance between the two in my experience.

Problem gambling is a HUGE issue. We are trained on how to try and help people, but now how to make them listen. The training we do recieve is minimal, the issue is glossed over. We are encouraged to make people gamble by offering them more products, much more so than how to initiate a helpful interaction with a problem gambler. The issue is rife, I see it in every single shop, with multiple customers. Mainly machine players. We have "gamcare" leaflets, which are an organisation intended to help these people. However every time I have tried to help someone, they have either laughed it off or refused to acknowledge the issue.

It is something that I believe seriously needs to be addressed.

Dervinator3 karma

As for random odds compilation, that is passed to another department. I have no idea how they generate those odds. I would assume they take as best a guess as they could!

Dragonache1 karma

How do you feel about the large stakes gambling machines the media have recently been discussing and the possibility of making them illegal?

Dervinator1 karma

Sorry to be a pain but I've already answered that! I'm afraid my friend you're going to have to do some trawling to find the answer.

superbear1 karma


Dervinator1 karma

Because they aren't really any limits as to the amount of adverts gambling companies are able to post. It's hard to go a day without seeing one! For the recovering gambler thats like your television trying to shove cigarettes in a successfully stopped non-smokers mouth.

mogadishupimp1 karma

Don't suppose you've worked in any of the bookies in Bristol? if so why are they all so damn shifty?

Dervinator2 karma

Nope, one of my co-workers did work in one though a while back. He used the phrase "gert lush" far too much.

DaFirenze1 karma

I've become a sucker for putting on a couple of cheeky pounds on the football every weekend or whenever there's a lot of games. What do you think of people you regularly see coming in and out? And If I dare ask which is the best way to win money from your experience?

Dervinator6 karma

I try not to judge but I think some of them need a better and less expensive hobby! Regulars are mostly decent people but you obviously get the occasional dick.

If you MUST gamble I'd say the best way to win is 6-10 team football accumulators for low stakes (£1 max) it will take you a while to win but your outgoings are kept low. But in all truth, there is no way to really win. Unless you try arbitration betting (google this!)

ShinjukuAce1 karma

Can't you win by looking for good value on individual games? Or in a tournament like the World Cup or Euro finals, by carefully analyzing the matchups and likely pairings for knockout rounds?

I've dabbled a bit in betting but no serious stakes, but I've heard that most football bettors overrate favorites and underrate underdogs and draws, and tend to overvalue "name" teams like Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and Italy even at times when their current squads aren't very good. (and the same would go for club teams in the Champions League).

Dervinator1 karma

True that! Keep an eye on Swansea...couple of my punters have made a hefty bag of dough backing them recently!

iareziga1 karma

The best way to win (which got me quite a few thousand euros so far) is to pick 3-4 football (soccer for the 'muricans) matches and bet on the favourite to score (not win, just score). The odds are 1:2, but are almost guaranteed money.

Dervinator1 karma

True that is a good bet, but nothing is guaranteed in the world of the bookies. Nearly every week one hot favourite in football kills everybody's accumulators. See it week in, week out. I also saw a horse lose today that was 3:10 to win. Just wanted to add that.

TheLandOfGreen1 karma

How do you determine the spreads on games?

Dervinator2 karma

This is done by a separate department. I'm at the front end, serving customers. So can't help there sorry!

someonelikegod1 karma

do you bet/gamble yourself?

Dervinator2 karma

I have done for low stakes, mainly out of intrigue to see if I could repeat the feats of some winning customers. This was early on in the job however and I quickly realised it would cost more than I would gain. I do get tips from customers saying horses will definitely win, but these barely ever materialise so I stopped placing faith in them.

Something of note however, many of the staff I work with gamble, on a daily basis. I worked with one manager who lost £400 in an hour or so. He was using his phone to bet whilst viewing the races on the shop screens. He developed a gambling addiction and ended up in thousands of debt. I actually had a one to one with him when no customers were present about his habit and he realised he had a problem, he knew he would get carried away but he couldn't prevent it.

He is 20 years old! I should also note attaining management position within the industry is easy, at the customer service end any way. They fast track you, and if you don't wish to further your position, my company geniinely force you to do so. You have no choice, unless you fake incompetence to such a level they wish you to remain put.

I know this is a lot to take in but I hope you find this information inciteful! :)

AlbertFishIsMyIdol1 karma

Ever had the chance to take a large amount of money, keep it and not get caught doing it??

Dervinator5 karma

Not the companies money no, security procedures are rigorous. CCTV, audits etc. I could have stolen hundreds from customers who I know don't check their money when I hand it over, but thats being a dick. I stole £20 once though as it doesn't flag up if its a one off. Nobody's perfect.

reticulate1 karma

Do you know who blagged Brick Top's bookie?

Dervinator7 karma

Tyrone, that silly fat bastard.

goldenretrievers1 karma

Do you ever wish you could reject/deny access to people who are clearly inebriated, or who are wasting their money and lives away?

Dervinator5 karma

We HAVE to reject the inebriated technically, but few managers do. It would cause confrontation, they'd rather just let them gamble away.

As for big losers, the companies want to keep them there because they are the main profit makers! They can self-exclude themselves from shops, but a maximum of 5 for any 1 company I believe. With thousands of betting shops under different proprioters, they don't stand a chance.

goldenretrievers1 karma

Thanks for the response. Whenever I walk past them during the day, they always look like sad places, where people aren't talking, just throwing money away. I know we all have our foibles (and addictions), but something about it all just seems so sad.

What would change about the way they are run if you could?

Dervinator3 karma

I would train my staff to be much more capable of spotting problem gambling and how to deal with it.

I would also allow the staff to control the customer environment within the shop much more. On several occassions me or my co worker have barred staff for abuse, only for them to ring customer services, who then ring us back and say we must serve them as they are good for business.

IronicAlbatross2 karma

Reading this AMA has been very entertaining for me. Thanks for sharing! I live in the us state of Oregon and all the dive bars here have video gambling machines, even in strip clubs! Definitely a multi million dollar industry that keeps hundreds of thousands of people statewide trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Dervinator1 karma

Exactly. The ones in our shops are constantly updated with new technology and games to entice people. They've even just brought in a loyalty card system where you put the card in the machine and get rewards for playing! We had to push that in peoples faces like crazy.

Lurlur1 karma

I KNEW this was the case! When I worked for a bookmakers I used to turn away people who were clearly drunk because of the whole betting is a contract thing. I was told by my area manager that I was wrong and had to take the bets, you're just not allowed alcohol in the shop.

Dervinator1 karma

Unsurprising. Betting companies usually keep a strict, public friendly profile via media but management always delegate dubious instructions.

We had a regular customer, admittedly an arsehole, but he won a sum of £15,000+ and disposed of his slip as he was mashed. We were specifically told not to ever mention it to him. He found out 3 months later and hit the fucking roof. He got paid, my manager got a unbelievable torrent of abuse because she was following some uptight area managers instructions.

Rattle-Head0 karma

I work for a company who writes the client side software for UK gambling cabinets. What's your take on the recent controversy around FOBTs?

The government have discussed banning them or introducing laws to reduce the maximum stakes because they say that they're addictive. In my opinion they're no different from online betting sites. In fact the maximum stakes can be a lot higher in online gambling sites than on FOBTs. If people are dumb enough to bet money that they can't afford to lose then that's their business and I don't think there should be laws that only exist to prevent stupidity when these people aren't harming anyone but themselves.

Dervinator3 karma

I see your point, yes it is stupid what they are doing. But thats addiction. The machines make you lose all sense of reality, it doesn't feel like you are losing tonnes of money because it's just a number on the screen. I have had this discussion with several regular losers. Some also do it for the thrill of the "all or nothing" feeling. I personally don't believe companies should be able to make a profit on exploiting peoples inability to exercise self control and overcome addictions. I have seen the ease at which people become accustomed to losing hundred of pounds. Young, old, dumb and extremely intelligent men and women all have battled with these machines. If what I have seen goes on across the rest of the country, and it would be safs to assume it does, then this is a massive problem within society. It's just extremely well hidden.

ChipsAndCurrySauce-2 karma

How do you sleep at night?

I'm being 100% genuine; does it not bother you accepting money off of people that obviously have gambling addictions or that spend all day sitting in front of the FOBTs?

Just so you know, I'm not judging you as I've spent time working for a high street bookmaker that will almost certainly be the same one as you or one of your competitors.

I had to leave as I just couldn't do it. I respect people's right to place a bet and to spend their money how they choose, but when it comes to taking money of people who clearly have a gambling addiction... I just couldn't live with myself.

Dervinator2 karma

I have a job to do. Life is hard enough as it without being dragged into depression by my conscience. Don't get me wrong, it does drag me down sometimes, but until I find another job (which I am attempting) I have to get on with life! I appreciate your comment, hope that doesnt make me seem too much of a bastard.