Bookies at odds to stay in betting circle
ONE of the most exciting things to do at the Lismore Cup is to place a bet with the bookies. Once a vital part of our horseracing culture, bookies were the first form of legal gambling in Australia.
My Dad was a bookie when I was young and owned a race horse called Kings Bench.
I can still see his big white bookie bag with his name emblazoned on it, which I was never allowed to touch. We would often head off on a Saturday to Randwick Race Course in Sydney for an exciting day out.
On one occasion we had to get the bus home because Dad had to sell the car to pay back the punters and another time he did so well we bought a brand new Cadillac on the way home.
This month bookmakers in NSW had a bit of a win, but not enough they said. In a move to ensure sustainability of the NSW racing industry the NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing Kevin Greene announced bookmakers will be now permitted to accept bets over the internet or telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but still only while they are at the races. But they are still not allowed to offer tote odds. Naturally the bookies are disappointed.
While many believe the role of a bookie is fast becoming redundant due to computerised betting technology, online services and numerous other forms of gambling on offer, I believe if we lost our bookies the racetracks would lose much colour and history.