Bookies 'heaviest-ever' losses
A "perfect storm" of football results across the weekend left the bookmaking industry facing estimated losses of more than £25million.
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The vast majority of the best-backed teams all won on both Saturday and Sunday, leaving bookies weeping, before Arsenal compounded their misery by landing a big gamble at Aston Villa on Monday night.
Coral described the losses as the industry's "heaviest ever" across a single weekend and compared the situation to the one in 1996 when Frankie Dettori famously went through the card at Ascot, winning every race and putting some layers out of business.
Simon Clare, of Coral, said 14 of the firm's 15 best-backed selections won on Saturday. At Sky Bet it was nine of the top 10.
Coral alone saw 50 customers win £2,000 or more on accumulators for which the stakes were between just £1 and £20. Sky Bet reported one 15-fold costing them £72,000.
Many accas ran through to Sunday when two more favourites - Manchester City and Liverpool - both came good for punters.
"Based on our losses, the UK betting industry will have lost over £25million in 48 hours," said Clare.
"These are the biggest losses that the betting industry has suffered since Frankie Dettori rode seven winners in an afternoon at Ascot in September 1996, and it's not even over yet as there will be many more accumulators still running on to Arsenal tomorrow night."
Sky Bet head of football Paul Wiggins said: "It's fair to say it's been a huge weekend for punters.
"Looking at the fixtures, I thought there was a chance we could get a couple of results to go our way but it hasn't worked out like that at all."
William Hill's Rupert Adams was trying to stay positive, adding: "It has been a black armband weekend for the bookmakers but that is the game we are in and we look forward to next weekend when we might just win some back."
Manchester City's 2-0 win at Newcastle took them back to the top of the Premier League table and they ended the weekend at a general 11/10 for the title. Several firms are odds-on.
"Manchester City seem to be coming good just at the right time," said Coral's Tim Reynolds. "Their away form has improved dramatically after a rocky start and with Sergio Aguero back fit, the title does look like it's City's to lose."
However, Arsenal quickly returned to the summit with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Monday night to earn a standout 9/2 quote for the title from BetVictor.
"Arsenal have to be contenders after another solid performance," said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.
Villa were cut to a best of 8/1 for relegation by BetVictor and Ladbrokes in a market where only 8/15 chances Crystal Palace are odds-on.