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Would you bet on Bob?
By Jonathan Stayton
November 02, 2006
Bob Rothman, who runs a horse-racing tipping service, has been so successful with his bets he says his accounts with leading bookmakers are limited within days of opening.
In his most successful year, Bob claims to have made a profit of about £440,000, but is now reduced to gambling smaller quantities as many bookmakers refuse to accept his money.
The 53-year-old has resorted to placing bets, averaging between £500 and £2,000, using friends’ accounts to avoid the restrictions placed on his own – but finds that even those are often limited within hours.
“I opened an account in my wife’s name and had one bet at lunchtime, with racing starting at 2pm,” he said. “It was 12/1 and I placed £833.33 to win £10,000. It was running in the evening and when I went to place another bet I found it had been limited already, even though the race had not been run.
“I opened one account on a Saturday afternoon and put £600 into it, and made that into £18,500 by the end of the day, and then couldn’t get proper bets on the account.
“On another one I turned £2,000 into £12,000 and they suspended the account so I couldn’t get at it, and they said we want a copy of the bank details and passport, because they think ‘who the hell is this person?’.”
Despite the best efforts of bookmakers, Bob, who claims to have won more than £100,000 in a single day, says he has 11 or 12 different accounts at his disposal.
His gambling began more than 20 years ago, when he fell in love with a Ferrari.
“I thought, ‘I’ll win that’,” he said. “I got £2,000 out and put it on a 14/1 tip and lost it all. Then a while later I put another £2,000 on the same horse and lost that too when it finished fourth and I was so cross and so disappointed so I said I am going to do it myself.”
In 1986, Bob advertised for contacts and admits to losing solidly for months, before his luck changed.
“I had a couple of golden years,” he said. “And then got closed down in 1986/7. I’m gutted because in my second year I won £440,000 and I thought ‘I can’t believe this’.”
He turned to tipping when he answered an advert seeking an investor in a racing syndicate, only to be told ‘you’ll never beat the bookie’.
“I thought there was a real opening there and set up the business,” he said.
Rothman Racing, based in Cobham, charges its members £80 per month for tips, also retaining whatever a £50 bet would win.
“Tipping is a lot different to betting,” he said. “With betting to win you’re trying to get value. If you offered me heads versus tails at 5/4, I’d do it all day long and end up making 20%. But if you’re tipping, if it comes up tails four times in a row, your customers will leave you. People want winners so they don’t always get value. No one’s very excited about betting on odds on horses so you have to come half way between.
“It is like buying widescreen televisions – if they are worth £2,000, and are offered for £1,500, you’re not too interested, but if they’re offered for £300 you say ‘how many?’ – it is a case of making the decision on whether the return is worth it. On the National Lottery people, on average, get 50p in the pound back – if you bought 14-million tickets you would get £7million back, but in racing it’s about 85p in the pound betting blind.”
Bob, who says he is happy to lose money because he knows he will ultimately win, started betting in his own name again in January this year.
“They gave me a £2,000 bet, and I thought this is fantastic, I didn’t believe it,” he said. “But I had a terrible day, I was hung over from New Year’s Eve and I lost £16,000, but the great thing was that I was back. By the end of the week I was £10,000 up and had already lost a couple of the accounts. I could bet £1 for every £100 everyone else could bet.”
Bob is so sure in his ability he challenged the News & Mail to a £1,000 evens bet that he could have any account limited within one month.
“I bet on the horses because I have an edge, some people love golf, I do racing. I’m just fortuitous I make money out of it,” he said.