Nowadays, gambling is a big business in the UK. Online casinos started to surpass land-based locations in popularity and that is because these can be accessed from the comfort of your home. On these websites, you can enjoy various casino games and more and more platforms provide its users with a sports betting feature.
According to the latest UKGC data available, just gambling on football was worth £1.4 billion in one year, while bookmakers made £333.4 million profits from 2015 to 2016. That sounds like a lot, but when reading about these figures, you can’t help wondering if your regular betting bloke also has something to gain from this industry. That’s why we decided to write about a handful of gambling success stories, to show you that yes, you can hit the jackpot big time if you play your cards right or if the good old Fortune chooses to smile on you.
In 2000, Peter Edwards, a 49 years old Welsh man, went to the nearest William Hill shop and placed a bet of £50 that one day that his toddler grandson, Harry, will make the Wales National Football team. 13 years later, against all odds, Peter’s prediction proved to be right: Harry Wilson, aged 16 at the time, made his debut for Wales. This achievement got his gramps a £125,000 win, while Harry still plays at the highest level of British football, as a winger in the Premier League and also continues to be a reliable member of the Welsh national team.
Winning large sums of money by betting on horse racing is no easy job, even for the most seasoned and lucky gamblers out there. One fateful day of 2011, Steve Whitley, a 61-year-old heating engineer, landed the big Jackpot at a horse racing competition. His presence there was a rare stroke of luck: he benefited from a promotion that won him and his friends some free tickets to the racecourse. One of his mates told him to get into the race towards the Jackpot, and so he did, betting £2 on six horses, one in each race. At the end of the day, his £2 bet on Lupita, the last horse standing, got him £1,445,671.20. Previously, Lupita had been beaten in all her 28 races, so imagine what sort of gods you need on your side to strike gold in such a manner.
In Britain, there’s something special about turning 60 years old. That’s when the pagan gods of Luck seem to operate. I imagine Tyche, the ancient Greek goddess of fortune, sitting in her penthouse on Mount Olympus, looking down on us mortals and saying something like: “oh, look, good old Fred over there in Yorkshire just reached his sixties, better throw some blind luck his way!” Because this is exactly what happened to Fred Crags, from Northern England, who placed an accumulator bet of 50 pence on horse races all over the country and, when he returned to his local William Hill agency to place another bet, he found out that his previous attempt got him the £1 million jackpot. One of the eight winning horses picked by him was “A Dream Come True”, who competed against odds of 2 million to one.
If you skim through dozens of news articles about amazing betting wins, you will inevitably see Mick Gibbs’ name mentioned. A roofer by day, skilled punter by night, he started his successful betting career back in 1999, when he earned over £150,000 by correctly predicting the final results for nine football games all over Europe. Not too shabby, isn’t it? Wait, there’s more. Throughout the years, he continued gambling and, in 2001, he staked 30 pence to forecast the victories in 15 games across the old continent. All of them went exactly as he predicted, including the 2001 UEFA Champions League Final, when Bayern Munich beat Valencia on penalty kicks. This made Gibbs £500,000 wealthier. He should consider changing his name to Lucky Gibbs.
8 years ago, a Maltese citizen who declined to make his identity public, won over 585,000 quid. How did he manage that, you ask? Quite easy: he placed a 19-match accumulator bet for the gargantuan sum of 80 pence. All his 19 predictions proved to be correct, including a Liverpool win over Chelsea, so now he’s pretty well off. He just had to beat 683,738/1 odds, a piece of cake!
Now, these tales are truly inspiring but it’s better to stay realistic and know that everything is possible – that includes losing. The Football FanCast team advises all its readers to always be gamble aware. But, these true stories are worth remembering because they offer a glimmer of hope to all sports and gambling fans out there. They also show that you don’t need to place some ludicrously high bets and waste all your savings to hit the big Jackpot.