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Meet the man who beat the bookies – and the banks. But the odds are against you | Money | The Guardian

Is it possible to make money on sports gambling? Yes, says Simon Inglis, who has earned over the usual best-buy savings account in a year — but no if you Examine the victims of this industry, as we detail below ambling, goes the consensus, is a mug’s game. Certainly that was my opinion. Apart from an annual punt on the Grand National I steered well clear. Not least, having cleared the contents of my uncle’s slum flat, strewn with betting slips, I associated it with failure.
Another obstacle is mental arithmetic. It’s not my strong point. If a gambler attempted to talk me through the fundamentals, I chucked over within seconds. But this time my book, Played in London, was nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. My reward? A free #1,000 bet.
Not wishing to blow this chance of a windfall — these stats you read about just how little the ordinary author earns are bang on — I placed the bet on what I believed was a cert: my team, Aston Villa, of the Premier League, to beat Blackpool, then in collapse in the branch below, at the FA Cup at chances of 4/9. Typical Villa left it late, nabbing the winner in the 88th minute. But a win is a win.
Now you may laugh, but despite 35 years of writing about game, albeit its history and culture, not sport itself, I had never quite known that when you win a bet you get not only the gain, but also your bet back. So I was chuffed to receive a William Hill cheque, not for #444.44 as I’d expected, but for #1,444.44. Tax free.

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