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'Betting Shop Manager of the Year is like a golden ticket'

12 April 2017

The 30th edition of the Racing Post/SIS Betting Manager of the Year competition has kicked off as we begin the search for our next champion.

Over the coming seven months a panel of judges representing different parts of the racing and betting industries will decide which manager deserves the coveted accolade.

Independent managers are now invited to enter the competition to be in with a chance of landing the title.

Last year’s champion Rob Mabbett, 37, from Betfred in Brough, said: “I think the experience this competition provides is amazing and it is an industry-wide mark of recognition of what betting shop managers do every day.

“You also get the opportunity to meet different people from around the industry, so my professional development has come on leaps and bounds since last year. Taking part in the competition is like a golden ticket.

“The important message to every manager is to enjoy the moment and be aware that you are going to be thrown into new situations. Once it is all over these experiences will help you in the future and for whatever you want to do.”

In the weeks after winning the title last November Mabbett went to Ascot with his shop team courtesy of the competition’s joint-sponsor SIS in its hospitality box, had Christmas lunch with Betfred chairman Fred Done at Aintree and presented the Oaks trophy at Belle Vue.

He has since been to all four days of the Cheltenham Festival, the Ice gaming show in London and the Racing Post Juvenile at Central Park, and he still has his main prize – a VIP trip to Singapore in the summer, courtesy of the Singapore Turf Club – to look forward to.

Mabbett has been delighted with people’s generosity since his triumph, saying: “Everyone has been genuinely warm and friendly. It has gone very quickly, but I’m determined to get the most out of it.”

With the betting industry going through an uncertain time with the government’s review of gaming machine stakes due to be published in the next few weeks, Mabbett believes shop managers will have a big part to play.

He said: “The decision on stakes is not something that we as managers have control over. However, our responsibility is to manage our customers correctly and make sure they play safe.

“If stakes are cut I am sure bookmakers will develop better over-the-counter offers. It is an innovative market and I am sure it will be able to cope.”

Mabbett is also running the London Marathon on April 23, raising money for mental health charity Mind, and Betfred will double any sponsorship he raises if he completes the course in less than four hours and 20 minutes.

Trudie Hill, who was crowned the north-west regional champion last year, described reaching the final eight as a “humbling experience”.

Hill, who manages two shops for Coral on Merseyside, said: “It was a positive thing as being recognised for what you do on a daily basis gives you that drive, particularly for those managers who don’t work for the big companies.

“It is well worth independent managers taking the time to enter the process.”

How the competition works

It is up to the major companies to determine their qualifiers. There are eight regional competitions: Ireland, Scotland, north-east, north-west and Isle of Man, Midlands and Wales, south-west and Channel Islands, Anglia and south-east, and Greater London.

In the seven British regions, Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill will be asked to put forward two nominations for each area, with one place in each earmarked for Paddy Power.

In Ireland, there are two places reserved for BoyleSports, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, with one place for William Hill.

For all independent managers, they can enter by emailing 
 bsmoty@sis.tv  by June 1.

Each manager will then receive a written question paper, and six per region will be chosen to go through to the next round by the judging panel, which comprises Brough Scott (chairman), Helen Scott and Nigel Boardman of SIS, former BHA director Morag Gray, Ibas chief executive Richard Hayler, former Channel 4 Racing presenter Tanya Stevenson, and Jim Cremin and me representing the Racing Post.

The 48 managers through to this stage will each be subjected to a mystery shopper visit after which the panel will select the final 24 (three per region).

Those 24 managers will then spend a day at the races at Doncaster at the end of October, where they will meet the judges for the first time. Eight regional champions will be chosen from this day.

Each regional champion, along with a key member of their shop staff, will then attend the final selection at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London, which involves a question-and-answer session with the judges the day before the final.

The winner

The final awards lunch takes place at the Carlton Tower Hotel on November 20. The winner will be invited to several key racing and betting occasions during their year as champion.


KEY DATES FOR THIS YEAR’S COMPETITION

Closing date for independent entries June 1
Closing date for major companies to nominate June 1
Question papers sent to all finalists June 2
Closing date for completed question papers July 3
Final 48 announced for mystery shopper visits August 8
Final 24 announced October 4
Final 24 attend judging at Doncaster October 26
Regional champions announced November 2
Final judging November 19
Awards lunch November 20

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