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Betting Shop Manager of the Year

The Betting Shop Manager of the Year 2011 is hotting up and below are a list of quotes from those who have qualified for the final stages from their respective regions.

Greater  London

Rupert Tann, Coral,  Horseferry Road London

Horseracing is on the decline as a percentage of turnover, but is this a problem for betting shops, and in particular Coral, if overall turnover continues to rise? For horseracing to grow, there has to be new customers. For there to be new customers, it has to be modern and accessible.


Kevin Houlihan, Betfred, Gerrard St, Leicester Square To improve horseracing turnover, we need to improve the experience for the older generation – they are the people with more spare cash and time, therefore more lucractive. Key to this is comfort.


Helen Edwards, Hills, Chase Side,  Southgate

Racing needs to be marketed more aggressively and ‘sexed up’. Betting on horses needs to be demystified and made easier for the novice. A digital version of the Racing Post is the way forward.


Mehmet Beyoglu, Ladbrokes, Coleman Parade,  Enfield

Key is product knowledge, which means understanding horseracing, not just bets, How can you and your staff sell something we don’t understand? Interaction lets you know your customers and makes them feel confortable being in the shop.


Emyl Lewicki, Hills,  Mile End Road , E3

Hprseracing is firmly entrenched in the culture of a significant part of our customer base, yet there seems less of an interest at shop employee level. Football successfully rebranded itself, and if reality TV can seduce a nation, why can’t racing . . . after all Tony McCoy won  BBC Sports Personality of the Year.


Daniel Hodson, Paddy Power,  Lower Addiscombe Rd , Croydon

Customers need to have confidence, built on anbetter understanding of horseracing, like that we have seen with football. I find that punters lose faith in regards to the amount of non runners and withdrawals there seems to be. Customer feedback indicates they are unhappy.


South/South West


Rachel Griffiths,

Ladbrokes, High Street, Shirley,  Southampton

A staff presence on the shop floor, chatting with customers and helping lost souls is vital. It is easy for a customer just to walk out when they don’t see what they want and nobody offers to help.


Emma-Jane Bailey,

Creedbet,  Bath

It’s unfair the way Gambling Commission fees are calculated, leading to smaller chains paying a lot more per premises than the larger groups of betting shops. Independents provide diversity, but two years ago there were six independents in  Bath , currently only three of us remain.


Michael Stibbe,

Coral,  Fore St , Torquay

Many football customers are new to the business. This provides a great oppportubtity to cross sell, particularly to the horses and machines. Often the best took you can use is just talking to your customers; you are effectively selling with no effort.


Carole Browne

Ladbrokes, Lee-on-the-Solent,  Gosport

Machines in the shop are keep the high street bookmaker afloat. I would love to see a giant roulette whell spinning to maximize the excitement or maybe a national daily tournament where people play each other, this would generate huge buzz.


Joanne Whitford

Betfred,  Union Street , Torquay

People see betting shops as an alien world. We should advertise in windows/papers a bet of the day, or a lucky 15, with the potential return, giving people an understanding of betting.


Byron Moss

Hills, High Street, Shirley,  Southampton

I would like to try and making the gaming machines more personal for our customers. There is still a kid of invisible barrier as they only come up to us when there is a problem, or when they want to be paid out.


Sally Holbrow

Creedbet,  Northgate St.   Gloucester

Many of us know all the names of our regular over the counter customers, but can we say the same about our machine customers. Our job as good managers is showing the same customer service to this group.


Jeff Reeve

Jenningsbet, High Street, Newmarket

This is a dynamic industry, but one sometimes under criticism. One area I would change is the clustering of betting shops – a number of shops within close proximity. This is linked to gaming machine legislation, which allows four machines per shops, and the relative amount of profit they generate. Firms with clout are now opening two or three shops in a small area to maximise their machine output. Given we are taking fewer over the counter bets I would change the law to allow a maximum of six terminals per shop.


Kevin Seymour

Coral, London Road, Brighton

Our customers love top quality horseracing and even the more hardened machine player can be distracted for a few minutes to watch some of our very best horses in action. However, I always find it strange that some of these players think nothing of a £100 spin on roulette – yet wouldn’t dream of putting £100 on a horse. These are the customers horseracing needs to concentrate on.


Barbara Berki

Hills, Marsh Road, Luton

William Hill, in conjunction with Racing Post and SIS, could set up a Racing Club. If every Hills shop attained five members per shop in the first year alone we would have 11,500 members, growing by one customer per shop for four years we would have over 20,000 members – getting free/discounted entry to local meetings, discounted horseracing bets and loyalty points.


Joy Murton

Joe Jennings, Leigh-on-Sea

We have noticed a real decline in horseracing turnover. A lot of this is due to the new generation of gamblers being more interesting in machines and sports betting. This generation look at horseracing as being quite old fashioned and not as fun as the quick fix of the gaming machine. Joe Jennings offers a lot more to try to make racing as much fun as possible. We work hard with many ideas.


Terence Mehegan

Paddy Power, Bellegrove Road, Welling, Kent

As a betting shop manager for the last 35 years I have seen with my own eyes how something as simple as word of mouth brings in new customers. In an industry where reputation is key, we are already drawing people into the shop by offering them excellent service on their mobile phones. This is an opportunity to show we are more than just an App, but make them feel comfortable about returning in the future.


Julie Potts

Coral, Mersea Road, Colchester

Creating a great in-shop atmosphere is about engaging with customers where appropriate¸ making them feel its home from home, offering hot drinks and a listening ear, along with ensuring subtle sales through service, offering an experience they may not have been aware of, or understood.



Andy Bennett

Scotbet, Selkirk

Football is now a major source of revenue in our shop, being the simplest of bets so appeals to all age groups. SIS’s increased coverage of football has helped, but the main way we maximise business is the same way we do with all other kinds of betting: speak to the customer and show an interest in what they are doing. They appreciate it.


Gary Cornes

Hills, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow

Having a bet on horseracing, comprehending handicapping or simply trying to make sense of all the variables that can influence the outcome of a race can be a daunting experience for the layman. As an industry, we have made the act of placing an informed bet too complex. By contrast the expert analysis on football is second to none. Punters crave a simple way to make an informed decision.


Kevin McGowan

Ladbrokes, Clark St, Airdrie

Horseracing is still the most exciting aspect of the betting shop experience. It has simply been overshadowed as modern shops grow with new products. However, it still does exist, and just needs to be introduced to newer generations through marketing.


Morag Horlock

Coral, Kirkcaldy, Fife

In a consumer led free market economy I believe a betting shop should have the right to apply for permission to open 24/7. Problem gambling would not be encouraged as the legislation, support and training for staff is already in place to ensure this would not happen. Extended opening creates more employment opportunities and welcome flexibility around working hours.


Joanna Curran

Hills, Kilwinning, Ayrshire

Our new TV advertising campaign [on football] was a real hit with the punters. My team and I make the most of this by bringing it right down to local level and are big supporters of the Scottish junior leagues and have an excellent relationship with our local junior team. We also support the pub team through free bets and promotional items for their fundraising nights.


Danny Morrison

Coral Stranraer

Everyone needs to work closer together and get back to making horseracing fun.  We do this with machines by talking up national tournaments, dressing up our machines and ourselves – and have been wizards and gladiators in recent timse, creating that all important buzz, mainly at my expense!


Hayley Cutts

City Bookmakers, Hotel Street, Leicester

It’s important that SIS delivers a better quality product with the air time to deliver form and previews in a more inventive manner and style. A good example has been the Bags/SIS greyhound competitions, where customers liked the SIS and Racing Post enhanced coverage. This reduces the chance shops will turn into arcades – with dire consequences for horseracing.


Kevin Groom, Corbettsports, Acton, Wrexham

We try and get involved with which teams our customers support, and hate! I try to stay neutral. We also promote Wrexham, even though they are in Blue Square Premier. Head office produces a special coupon which is helpful.


Dean Edwards, Ladbrokes, Wyken, Coventry

There is an undeserved stigma to horse betting that it’s complicated to prospective first time customers. We must recognise that, and keep our promotions and advertising simple


Tracey Maddison, Coral, Immingham, Grimsby

With Immingham being a tight knit community, we help our local football teams with any fundraising, on days off assist with selling raffle tickets and manning stalls, while Coral donate prizes. Two local teams meet in the shop for a pre-match talk!


Gary Forbes, Ladbrokes, Newark, Notts

Making machines part of our DNA is a key objective for Ladbrokes. Getting the basics right is a good start, providing a relaxed shop atmosphere that is clean, tidy and fresh. Developing the racing programme on Sundays is also vital.

Michael Vance
Ladbrokes, Newtownards, Co Down

Future customers might be able to use their mobiles in different ways while actually in the shop. For example, bluetooth technology might greet their mobile, while we are saying hello in person. This would open up all sorts of options to inform and reward customers for being loyal to the company, or visiting the shop.

Sara O’Hare
Paddy Power, James St, Dublin

Being a Liverpool fan, I like to hang my flags which make for greater banter between us and the customers. Plenty of stick mixed with lots of optimism. It brings a fun and relaxed atmosphere to the shop.

Shane Mullins
Ladbrokes, Pearce Rd, Cork

I would like to see the Racing Post combine with SIS for a match of the day style racing show that could be made available for terrestrial TV with the day’s top racing highlights, jockey and trainer profiles, in depth analysis and interviews. This should also be available though an iPhone app and You Tube.

Elaine Feeney
Boylesports, Market Square, Longford

There will always be a strong demand for racing in the shop environment so if we continue to educate our customers with simple bets, make the process as easy as possible and also uncomplicate the process for our growing multicultural customer base

Marc Dray
Boylesports, Westside Shopping Centre, Galway

We need to start to market horseracing more to women, perhaps along the lines of ‘get the excitement of the Grand National 50 times a day’; in our shops, SIS could employ more female presenters, as could bookmaking firms. We can make the industry less male-dominated.

Ann Richards
William Hill, Micklegate, Selby

We need to reintroduce horseracing to new and existing customers, via the information required to understand racing in general and also place basic bets. It's about delvering the best in shop experience possible.

John Bowerman
Coral, Fowler St., South Shields

To ensure easy viewing for the customer, SIS should ensure no picture in picture. Live links to the best available pundits should be made available from the track, creating a better atmosphere in shop and giving the customer a real feel for the race.

Andrea Harrison
Stan James, Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham

Having knowledge of football and understanding the offside rue is a must for all female shop managers! I enjoy the banter that goes on between rival teams and the customers appreciate this during the football season.

Keith Robinson, 
Hills, Main Street, Ponteland, Northumberland

To appeal to the younger punters, horseracing needs to become 'sexier' with better TV advertisements and coverage, and more of it. I can't remember the last time I saw anybody under 30 with a Racing Post. This is a market to be exploited via a 'junior' dumbed-down paper.

Berni Shotton
Ladbrokes, Holmeside, Sunderland

Racing needs to schedule key events better to free up airtime and allow the build they deserve, and so generate a greater buzz. More is not always better.

Diane Hall
Chisholms, Benton Road, Newcastle 

In-running betting on football is definitely the way forward. This is available on live matches and is extremely popular with all age groups. In shop I promote goal buster competitions covering ten week periods during the season. Customers love having their name on the leaderboard.

North and North West
Diane Lowrey
Ladbrokes, Egremont, Cumbria

I'd suggest a TV advert campaign with jockeys promoting the big race of the weekend, possibly with a tip. The Racing Post could support this by producing a jockey profile each Saturday. I'm sure some of the 18-34 year olds have never heard of some of the top jockeys, let alone winning history!

Steven Kennedy
Corbetts, Brook St, Chester

We all need to try and capture the interest of the younger/new customers. These tend to bet on the gaming machines and football.  A high profile, popular presenter/talisman, eg Michael Owen who has connections to both football and horseracing, could be used to bridge the gap.

Ian Taylor
Hills, Royton, Oldham
Mobile phones can only been seen as a positive. If betting companies can attract a new generation of clients to bet using their mobile device, then potentially these customers may also be inclined to visit our shops through cross-selling.

Amanda Duckworth
Paddy Power, Rochdale
The Racing Post's digital display, rather than the paper, is the way forward. Betting shops should have iPad type screens to view the info. It would be a good way for both Racing Post and betting shops to appeal to a younger generation.

Gregg Pearcey
Hills. Allerton Road, Liverpool

I'd love to see SIS using helmet cameras on jockeys to make the experience all the more real and you could see exactly what goes on in a race. Interviews with jockeys, trainers and owners would be a great addition to the in shop experience.

Keith Chadderton
Betfred, Bispham, Blackpool

Face facts. We can’t keep looking back and not realise that betting products and customers are changing. Most new customers that come into the shops today do so for football, numbers, other sports bets and gaming machines. A professional horseracing product is required to show that it is also an entertaining experience.

Melissa Caley
Coral, Ashton-under-Lyne

A loyalty card that defaults to a customer’s favourite game, saving last spins on roulette, would be helpful to them, but also assist us to engage with them through special offers, including over the counter betting. 

MysteryShopper visits - September 2nd to October 3rd 

Final24 announced - October 4th   

Final24  to Doncaster October 21st

BSMotYSupplement published in RP - November 3rd

RegionalChampions announced - November 4th

JudgingPanel Carlton Tower - November 20th

AwardsLunch – Carlton Tower - November 21st