Betfred is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice after paying out on Manchester United to win the Premier League title. The champions are just five points clear of second-placed Manchester City and with seven games left, including one between the two rivals, Fred Done is being accused of lacking in the haste department.
“Back in 1998 Fergie told me to never pay out early again but Sir Alex need not worry, I’ve not got it wrong this time,” he said. “United are past the post for a record 20th title. Even with the derby to come a five point lead is just too much for City.”
The time he’s referring to cost Betfred £500,000 when he was became the first bookmaker ever to pay out early. United were 12 points clear of Arsenal at the time and managed to balls it up so they lost it by a mere point. Betfred are by no means the first firm to “eff up” the art of paying out early.
The most infamous of all these belonged to a bookie that has a stellar relationship with publicity. Paddy Power has used publicity to its advantage on many occasions. 2009’s US PGA Championship might not be one of the best. After 36 holes of Tiger Woods leading the field Paddy realized enough was enough. Woods was four shots clear of the rest and the odds were 1/5. What happened next saw Paddy lose £1.3 million and the Yang Yong-eun crowned Asia’s first major golf champion.
Paddy issued a statement at the time saying: “It takes a special kind of dimwit to turn what should have been our best ever golf result into our worst. Paddy Power punters are obviously the big winners here and have made like bandits getting paid out on Tiger as a winner.”
That didn’t stop Paddy Power as they’ve still been paying out early ever since. Last year saw punters betting on Seb Vettel to win the F1 world title and New Zealand to be crowned Rugby World Champions paid early. Lucky for Paddy he didn’t lose out there and even if he had they’re firm believers in the fact that the payout gives them free publicity that they’d otherwise have to pay a hefty amount for anyways.
Betfred could be footing a big bill should Fergie and United foul this one up and will just hope the ensuing publicity is well worth it.