It is, without doubt, the single-most bet upon sporting event in the world. The Grand National piques the interest of hardened punters and the once-a-year gang year after year, and the proliferation of smartphone technologies amongst the older generations looks set to drive another record year of profits for the bookies.
Last year it is believed that around £225 million was wagered upon the Aintree showpiece, with more than 35 million individual bets placed with an average value of £4.41.
“The Grand National is the public’s race, and we will see millions of once-a-year punters coming in to betting shops or downloading the app,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams. And that is the salient point here: more and more people are using their mobiles and tablets to have a flutter.
The payment processing firm, Worldpay, has revealed the findings of a study which confirms that 45% of over-65s prefer to place their bets on a mobile device rather than in a high street bookmakers; an increasing trend which will continue to enhance online takings.
It is also widely known that many would-be punters are ‘put off’ by the though of entering a bookmakers’ shop, and are far more willing and able to place a bet on their smartphone.
Worldpay’s James McGurn said: “The Grand National is the biggest betting day of the year, bringing an entire nation to a standstill as horseracing fans up and down the country tune in to watch.
“Though steeped in tradition, the Grand National has jumped into the 21st century, with a later start time and Snapchat coverage all designed to cater to the modern audience.
“As the way in which we watch the race evolves, so does the way we choose to gamble. And mobile is at the heart of the new racing experience.
“We are seeing a growing trend towards app betting, which is more convenient and user-friendly for sports fans of all generations.”
As if to confirm the fact, Worldpay’s study also found that there is a surge of betting activity on the day of the Grand National, with the number of bets increasing by 65% compared to any other Saturday.
And the timing of these wagers is interesting too. There is an average of 118 deposits made PER SECOND on Grand National day, while the average peak bet time is just seven minutes before the big race is due to start! It’s unlikely that these are well thought-out, insightful bets….
One of the reasons that bookmakers love Grand National day, aside from the number of new accounts opened and beginner punters betting on the race, is that the market favourites very rarely have their day.
If we go all the way back to 1998, we note that only five outright or joint favourites have taken the spoils at Aintree. Earth Summit, from Nigel Twiston-Davies, in ’98, Hedgehunter from the irrepressible Willie Mullins in 2005, Comply or Die three years later and Don’t Push It in 2010.
Since then it’s been a complete drought for the market choice, with five of the seven winners priced at 25/1 or more which includes a 66/1 long shot!
The National is a race which is typically wide open, and that looks the case this year once again with no single runner down at less than 10/1.
The Grand National is also the perfect race in which to take advantage of the myriad of free bets and bookmaker promotions that are available; who knows, back one of these long odds winners and it could be one of the wisest financial decisions you ever make!