THE use of the term 'bookmakers' in Jamaica is a massive anomaly. There are no true bookmakers in this country. Bookmakers on this rock make no 'book', instead they feed off the odds from Caymanas Park for which they pay a rights fee.
There is usually acrimony between the bookmakers and Caymanas Track Limited involving the amount to be paid each week with the former always complaining about the amount to be paid.
The parlous state of our economy and the need to find inventive solutions to keep businesses from labouring and to sustain growth and development, the erstwhile men and women of the bookmaking industry would do well not to belch out excuses but to change their status by implementing new bets.
While listening to races over the weekend, the thought of winter book betting was again explored. Winter book betting involves the stating of fixed odds for as early as January 1, of each year on listed races usually the Classics, the 1000 Guineas, the 2000 Guineas, the Derby and St Leger. Other races can also be included like the Superstakes, the Governors' Cup and the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes.
Let's try an explanation. The year is 2013 and the top five for the Derby are as follows in January of the same year:
Willie Goldsmith 4/1
Piscean Rocket 6/1
Minnie's Sunshine 20/1
Rum Punch 10/1
Doc Holiday 15/1
These are odds established by the bookmakers and published for all to see and contemplate. When a bettor, for example, purchases Piscean Rocket at 6/1 in the stated period the bet and odds are offered, he receives those odds regardless of the odds on the day of the actual raceday itself. If the horse, again, Piscean Rocket does not start in the Derby the bettor, it is recommended is refunded 25 per cent of the amount wagered.
Betting is never perfect nor is it a certainty. There must be some amount of give and some amount of take that is why the 25 per cent refund is strongly recommended for losing punters.
Some of the recommended rules and regulations are:
1) Cut of period one month before each race.
2) Twenty-five per cent return to bettors whose horse does not make it to the race.
3) Payouts to winners are to be made one week after race is run.
4) Results on raceday must stand.
5) Bets purchased cannot be refunded or changed.
This writer strongly believes that the introduction of the winter book betting feature will certainly not be the panacea for the woes of the bookmakers but it might just be the start of something progressive.