GAMING giant, Supreme Ventures Ltd (SVL) indicated that it got a spike in Cash Pot bettings on gold related numbers amidst the World Athletics Championships in Russia — and bettors won!
It underscores the linkage between betting, culture and sport.
"On balance, during that period, customers came out ahead because, as I keep stressing, although we have no control on the outcome, gold related symbols played," stated SVL Chief Executive Officer Brian George in an Observer interview on Monday.
The numbers 31 and 32 have as their lucky marks gold chain and gold respectively. Those numbers were drawn as winners on August 20, 16, 13 and 12.
The weight of bets on gold numbers meant that SVL paid out more than it took in, least on Friday.
"On (August) 16th, 31 played and we paid out 220 per cent of what we took in," stated Brian George about the Cash Pot payout, which averages 70 per cent.
"The relationship people have with the game is deep and cultural, and it is something that we take pride in protecting," he said.
"Thirty-one is bet on heavily because it symbolises gold. For the Pick4 [game] the number that Bolt wears on his bib would be bet on heavily," he said, adding that Bolt's bib number, 2710, had played in the past.
SVL also added that similar spikes for gold symbols occurred during the London Olympics.
"When we came 1,2,3 in the Olympics. That was a heavily bet series for Pick3 [game]," he said. "We go through a tremendous amount of effort to assure people that the draw is random and that we do not manipulate it. There is however this underlying view that we can manipulate the outcome. As a result, people believe that when they bet on these things [gold symbols] that that is what the 'man' will bet on."
Higher lotto liabilities and taxation were blamed for SVL posting $99.9 million in profit for its quarter ending June 30, or 69 per cent less than the comparative period last year.
Yesterday, George called the quarter the "worst in five years" due to taxes and higher payout in games.
Government, in February, announced measures to raise $16.4 billion in additional taxes.
The Government allowed SVL to sell lottery tickets on Sundays and public holidays effective April 1, but concurrently forced them to incorporate an increase in lottery tax (GPT) rates from 17 and 23 per cent to 20 and 25 per cent, respectively, on nine games.
The local church body has opposed the introduction of Sunday lottery for years.
Sunday lottery draws earned $700 million in its first three months, according to financials.
But George said that the impact of the Sunday sales was largely mitigated by new taxes.
"$700 million in Sunday sales creates the unfortunate impression that we have had a windfall from Sunday sales," he said. "When you look at the [income] of SVL you are really only talking about five or six per cent gross margin on that business. So, in real terms, it really does not add that much to the bottom line.
"I don't want to create the erroneous impression that we are benefiting from a windfall from Sunday betting."