Aintree grand national
In the early days of the Grand National the largest bets usually took

place between wealthy rival owners. However, bookmakers who appeared

on English racecourses in the early 18th century were very much in

attendance at Aintree from the very start. The Grand national itself

soon became immensely popular with the on-course punters, although it

remained a relatively small gambling event compared with the Epsom

Derby.

aintree grand national


Today, however, tells a different story. The Grand National generates

at least six times as much betting compared to the Derby. The

National, as a single sporting event, attracts the biggest turnover

of all the major horse races, with a average of £250 million-plus.

The money gambled on the Grand National is only surpassed by the

likes on monies placed on collective events such as The World Cup,

The Cheltenham Festival, and Glorious Goodwood.

This may never have come to be if it hadn't been for the

establishment of the Horserace Totalisator Board which operated a new

pool system, more commonly known as the Tote, or in disrespectful

terms as the Nanny. This enabled punters, for the first time, to have

an alternative to betting against the bookmakers. Under the new Tote

system they could effectively bet against each other, with their bets

going into a pool, and with the odds continually fluctuating in

response to the pattern of bets laid down, resulting in the total sum

finally being shared between the successful punters.

Despite betting flourishing illegally off-course, the Grand National

only became the biggest betting event of all from 1961 onwards. This

followed on from the legalisation of off-course betting shops which

grew dramatically as a result. Betting continued to flourish despite

the reintroduction of the betting tax, in 1987, which was confined to

off-course betting shops. The betting tax was again introduced in

2001 but by this time the money spent on betting on The Grand

National in 1987 had doubled to over £100 million.

Over the years the National has suffered many set backs, not least

bomb scares and the introduction of the National Lottery, which the

organizers claim cost them £120 million a year in turnover. However,

despite these setbacks, the Grand National, in keeping with the first

ever winner, Lottery, continues to be a major money spinner, and is

growing every year.

In keeping with all other sporting events, the Grand National went

technological in 2000, when for the first time, punters were able to

place their bets via the internet. This enabled them to take

advantage of the tax-free betting available from offshore operatives.

The success of internet betting continued to grow and in 2001 it was

estimated that the overall profit made by bookies on the race was £20

million. This was mainly due to the bets being placed by punters in

over 200 countries world wide.

Three enterprising internet bookmakers offered to pay out on the

first five finishers which had never happened before. It may also

have been that due to the cancellations of so many other race

meetings of that year, due to the foot and mouth crisis, more punters

were keen to have one flutter. To top it all, for the first time

also, The Grand National was being shown live on television in

mainland China with an estimated 200 million viewers. Some viewers

were able to have a bet via the internet, but with betting still

illegal in China this cut the numbers able to bet dramatically. In

2007 the Grand National was estimated to have made between £250 and

£275 million for the day.

aintree grand national

 

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