Tony Plaskow – Pixiu Gaming : Jackpot or Crackpot?

vermantia Tony Plaskow Headshot
Tony Plaskow – Pixiu Gaming

Bombarded by sportsbook ‘jackpot’ marketing coverage, ahead of the start of a new Premier League season, Tony Plaskow Founder of Pixiu Gaming tests his luck and football knowledge on William Hills ‘£50 million Prem Predictor’…does he fancy his chances???

Having been so unlucky to miss out on TitanBet’s $100m prize for correctly predicting the correct score of all 64 games in the last World Cup (I almost got 8 right) I turned my attention to cracking William Hill’s new £50m Prem Predictor competition. For a paltry £2 entry fee all you need to do is predict the exact finishing position of all 20 teams in the Premiership.

There’ll be no Costa Rica winning a group here, this is all about form and I know my footy inside out. I’ve had a season ticket at Arsenal for almost 30 years; I can wax lyrical about false number 9’s as well as the next man, I must have a decent chance of winning, no?

So, whilst I was mulling over whether Newcastle or West Brom will finish 15th, I thought I’d add some science to the process and sought some expert advice from the clever chaps at Colossusbets. With a £10m weekly prize on offer for guessing 7 correct scores they seemed the right people to show me the inside track to instantly becoming richer than Steven Gerrard. After some rapid mathematical wizardry it transpires that, assuming I choose ‘sensibly’ (Chelsea will win, Watford will be 20th etc), the odds of me winning were a touch over 4 trillion to one (4,000,000,000,000/1).

For a bet that only pays 25 million to one (25,000,000/1) that rather dampened my spirits. Maybe it isn’t good value after all? Apparently it won’t improve my chances if I hit the maximum entry limit of 250 and invest the full £500……. although I’m now sceptical as to why there is a limit. Originally I assumed it might be to block out syndicates from buying all the available perms and locking in the 50 million quid prize until the hard facts expose that they’d need 3 times as much cash as is in circulation in the entire UK to place the bet.

Heavy-hearted, Lamborghini Huracan Spyder pre-order cancelled (they can keep their stupid £10,000), I decided maybe it wasn’t a sensible move to enter after all. To be fair to William Hill they are also offering the leader board winner at Christmas and the end of the season a cool £100,000 which is great. But then a hundred grand doesn’t really ‘change my life’ so why bother playing and, more interestingly, why have William Hill built a nice friendly app and paid Robbie Savage to sell it to me in their adverts?

The reason, of course, is that by being able to promote such a big prize it gets William Hill lots of media coverage and punters have a chance (however remote) to win a ridiculous amount of moolah. But when you compare the chances of winning to the mentality of an always-tuned-in footy punter it shows a massive divergence from their normal behaviour.

With social media providing a constant stream of information and live feeds for most sports available via a quick search, the modern punter is materially more informed than ever before. Extensive form data, accurate live information sources and straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth Tweets empower the average UK football punter to think, maybe more often than not, they have a decent chance of winning their Saturday afternoon bet. With that in mind, why are established, highly experienced firms like William Hill and TitanBet using marketing offers which are as likely to be won as Calvin Ayre is of being the next U.S. President, unified welterweight boxing champion and first person on the Sun all rolled into one?? 

The recently announced changes to the National Lottery might give us an answer. From October this year they are adding 10 balls to the machine meaning you need to hit 6 from 59 instead of 49 as it is now. That may not sound horrendous but it takes your chance of winning the big one from one in 14 million to one in 45 million. With more balls in the pot it also significantly affects all the other non-jackpot prizes available, negatively. The chances for winning a cash prize are much worse than presently.

However, the National Lottery’s PR spin machine is purring with promises of everyone having more chances to win and there being much bigger jackpots. Both are, factually, correct because getting 2 balls will give you a free entry into the next week’s draw plus, with the odds of hitting a jackpot so much worse, it will see more rollovers and, hence, bigger jackpots.

The reasoning behind the changes is to reinvigorate the National Lotteries sales by creating larger jackpots which will entice more tickets to be bought and, therefore, raise more money for the good causes they pass money onto.

Apparently the massive US and EuroMillions jackpots show this is a way to achieve such growth. But, as per the basically-impossible-to-win TitanBet and William Hill, it creates a fascinating dynamic whereby the end player (who has access to unlimited information about their chances of winning etc) is being enticed to play more with an offer which makes their chances of winning significantly worse.

It’s diametrically against what should be happening if sense and thought are involved. But then it’s £50,000,000. For a 2 quid bet. And I know my footy. I could win this thing………

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Tony Plaskow – Founder Pixiu Gaming

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