Nov 042016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.


A Scottish farmer’s wife who has won £1.2m on an online bingo and casino site won’t be saddling up for a life of luxury or galloping off on a round-the-world cruise. Mandy Bowman, who scooped the jackpot on Glossy Bingo’s Major Millions slot game, plans to spend her winnings on her beloved horses by building an indoor riding school and launching a livery.

Mandy (45), from Buckie in Moray, also plans to invest some of her prize money in upgrading buildings and machinery on the family farm so that she and husband, John (40), can expand their operations and have a more stable future.

The pair wed two years ago and have yet to have a honeymoon – but Mandy says there is lots of work to be done on the farm before they can even think about taking some time off to enjoy a much-needed holiday together.

“We’ll soon be lambing and then the cows will be out to the field, so it could be May or even June before we can take a holiday. My husband doesn’t have a passport, so when we do finally take a break it won’t be anywhere exotic – it will be in Scotland,” explains Mandy.

“I might treat myself to a 4×4 to make getting in and out of the farm easier. I asked my husband if he would like a new car, but he’s happy with the one he’s got. I’ve become a millionaire, but the day I really hit the jackpot was the day I met my husband.”

Mandy says she is still having to pinch herself after hitting the jackpot on Major Millions, but is determined to keep her feet on the ground despite winning a total of £1,185,253. She has four horses and wants to expand the stables on the farm so that she can operate a livery business and an indoor riding school.

She’s been a member of the Glossy Bingo website for around three years. She was at home playing the game on her phone, and had been able to win £400 before she decided to switch over to the Major Millions game – a five-reel online slot game with a progressive jackpot that is regularly over £400,000.

The object of the game is to match up three to five symbols in a row. Mandy says,

“When I switched onto the progressive jackpot, I started to lose. I was spinning away and I was down to my last £3. I thought there was no way I would win anything then.

“I spun again and all the symbols matched. I thought I was seeing things and then a message flashed up to say that I had won the jackpot. When I saw the number I thought it was a mistake or a joke – I really didn’t believe it.

“I didn’t sleep for about three nights afterwards. It has come as a huge shock, but a very welcome one. I’m not going to go wild and splurge it all on cars or holidays: we love this lifestyle and we love the farm, and we want to make a future for ourselves here.

“I wouldn’t say that I am even that much of a gambler. I’ll have a flutter once a month, and only with what I have in pocket money once all the bills are paid.

“My dad used to bet on horses and he always told me that you should only bet what you can afford to lose, and I’ve always stuck by that. It’s very good advice. I was very close to my dad and sadly he passed away last year – I like to think he was my lucky charm and he brought me this win.

“I might still have a game now and again as I play when I can sit down and have a cup of coffee and relax – it’s like a bit of chill-out time for me.”

Vincent Viaud, VIP executive of Glossy Bingo, travelled to Mandy’s home to hand over the cheque. He adds,

“I think that Mandy has shown a very sensible approach to online gaming in only betting what she can afford and playing only occasionally.

“This is the biggest win we’ve had on Major Millions. I hope that Mandy will enjoy the win and really do hope this hard-working couple can use some of the jackpot by finally taking a break from the farm and enjoying a honeymoon.

“Mandy does so much to help other people and does a lot of work for charity, and by winning I hope she will give something back to herself.”

Glossy Bingo is a premium online bingo and casino site from the award winning team that brought you ‘Butlers Bingo’, home of the record breaking £5.8 Million Jackpot winner. Powered by Microgaming, one of the largest and most trusted providers of online casino and bingo software in the world, Glossy Bingo – – offers a range of different 90-ball and 75-ball bingo games as well as a choice of over 250 state of the art slot and casino games, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Sep 192013

refereetallBy Bob Smith.

Ian Black yon fitba player
Some siller he’s bin layin
On results o fitba matches
Far his ain team hid bin playin

A measly ban an paltry fine
Wis aa the buggar got
Wis iss less than aa the dosh
Efter coontin up the tot?

Wullie Woodburn in nineteen fifty fower
Wis fae the gemme suspendit sine die
Fer heid buttin a Stirling Albion player
Faa kick’t Wullie twixt unkle an thigh

The ban on Wullie Woodburn
T’wis lifted efter three ‘ears
Tam Finney the English international
Wis amang fowk faa raised three cheers

So fit’s the worse offence fowks
A heid butt or an illegal bet?
Baith are brakkin aa the rules
Yet different bans they get

Eence mair the SFA fell doon
On applyin the law’s full blast
A langer ban fer Ian Black
Wid show the die’s bin cast

Ally o the new Gers claims
Lots o players hae a flutter
So gie the names tae the SFA
In case ere’s ither nutters

The fitba gemmes in sic a state
Surely integrity it still maitters
Come on ye SFA heid billies
Staun up agin thae betters

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013

Apr 122013

If you are fond of a flutter on races such as the Grand National or simply enjoy watching horse racing on TV, you might like to consider what you are buying into. Duncan Harley writes.

Equestrian sport has a long history with records indicating that horse racing occurred in ancient Greece, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt.

In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing were major industries as anyone who can remember the film Ben Hur will have realised.

Thoroughbred racing was, and is still of course, popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title “Sport of Kings.”

I met a man in a pub a few years ago and during the course of a conversation about the world and everything he revealed that his job was to supervise Health and Safety on construction sites. The company he worked for he revealed used to “kill around 26 employees each year” due to accidents and he was very pleased to report that the figure had now dropped to 13 per year.

Jaw dropping figures however you look at them but small fry when the scale of equine death in the name of the Sport of Kings is examined.

Over the past five years around 940 race horses have died on the UK’s 60 race courses. That’s an average of 188 per year and average 3 per race course per year.

The Grand National at Aintree has a fairly poor record in this respect with an average over the last 2 years of two deaths per year for a single race, although this pales into insignificance in comparison to the Aintree’s 28 deaths over the past 5 years which equates to 5.6 horses each year.

What is the problem? Attitudes for a start say Animal Aid. The public like a flutter, the bookies like a profit and many owners view the animals as expendable once the economic value they represent has declined. In fact, leading jockey Katie Walsh has been quoted as saying “I hope to god there are no accidents but these things do happen,” and “they are horses at the end of the day!”

The style of racing, the distances and the type of events vary significantly by the country in which the race is occurring, and many countries offer different types of horse races. There are three major types of racing: flat racing, steeple chasing (racing over jumps), and harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a sulky.

A major part of horse racing’s economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a world-wide market worth around US$115 billion.

Big business however you look at it and big profits, but at what expense? Where is the Health and Safety for racehorses I wonder? Much has, of course, been made recently of the changes to the jumps at Aintree.

The Aintree course authorities have seemingly made the jumps more visual and in an effort to reduce falls at Becher’s Brook -where 13 falls and 2 fatalities have occurred in the last 5 Grand Nationals -there have been major changes.

The fence took its name from Captain Martin Becher, who fell there from his mount, Conrad, in the first official Grand National in 1839. The Captain seemingly took shelter in the brook to avoid injury. The jump originally consisted of an 8ft-wide brook with a fence set back a yard in front of the water, the ground on the landing side 3ft lower than the take-off side.

In 2011, Aintree announced new modifications to Becher’s Brook following a review of the course in the aftermath of the 2011 Grand National calamity where the public nationwide were treated to views of mayhem and dying horses.

The Daily Mail reported afterwards that:

“Death came again to the Grand National yesterday – and the horror was played out in front of a worldwide television audience of 600 million. They and the thousands who had packed Aintree for the annual cavalry charge looked on as two horses died in appalling falls.”

Amongst the changes to the course, the landing side of Becher’s was re-profiled to reduce the current drop by between 4 and 5 inches across the width of the fence. The drop is now approximately 18 inches on the inside of the course and 13 inches on the outside of the course.

This difference in drop from the inside to the outside of the fence has been retained to encourage riders to spread out across the width of the fence and also to retain the unique characteristics of the fence. The height of the fence remains unaltered at 4 ft 10 inches. All well and good, some would say, but still a real challenge when you consider that the riders and animals typically reach speeds of over 30mph when jumping this obstacle.

A fall at this speed is very likely to cause injury and death to both horse and rider.

Becher’s Brook is of course only one of the sixteen jumps which horse and rider are faced with in the Grand National. Animal aid has named Aintree as the most dangerous racecourse in the country with Becher’s Brook being seen by campaigners as a jump which should be removed forever from the circuit.

critics continue to wonder why these animals are often slaughtered rather than being put out to grass in their old age

But it’s not just deaths during races which concern animal charities however.

Animal Aid, a leading animal welfare charity,  claim that for several years more thoroughbred horses have been bred than have been needed by the racing industry.

A report by the British Horseracing Authority says that in 2011 the number of thoroughbreds reported dead to the horse passport issuing authority rose by 29%, from 1,994 in 2010 to 2,574.

The report titled The Effect of the Recession on the Welfare of British Thoroughbred Horses notes: “Of these, 1,127 horses either in training, breeding or out of training were reported as killed in abattoirs, from 499 horses in 2010, an increase of 126%.”

“To solve this problem we’ve got to stop breeding so many, and then we won’t have to put so many down,” said Carrie Humble, an independent equine welfare consultant. “But I would rather see these overproduced horses dead than suffering.”

All well and good but critics continue to wonder why these animals are often slaughtered rather than being put out to grass in their old age despite the existence of the racing industries own charity for pre-loved racehorses Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). This charity has four centres in the UK and aims to re-home animals which are no longer required in the sport and give advice to those wishing to purchase at bloodstock auctions.

The situation will only get worse say campaigners, as racecourses across the UK suffer dwindling revenues and face closure. Hereford and Folkestone racecourses closed in 2012 and more may follow in their footsteps in 2013.

The British Horseracing Authority, also known as the BHA, is the regulatory authority for horse racing in Great Britain.

Its stated objectives are to:
1. Provide the most compelling and attractive racing in the world.
2. Be seen as the world leader in race day regulation.
3. Ensure the highest standards for the sport and participants, on and away from the racecourse.
4. Promote the best for the racehorse.
5. Represent and promote the sport and the industry.

Critics feel that the BHA is ineffective  in promoting the “the best for the racehorse” and point to the BHA’s own admission in the Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder magazine during 2009, that 7,500 horses leave racing annually but that they could not say what happened to between 3,500 and 4,000 of that total.

A staggering admission indeed by the regulatory authority for horse racing in Great Britain, albeit from 2009, that they simply had no idea of the fate of around 50% of the animals whose welfare they purported to be promoting.

Perhaps its time for some major regulation in the racing industry.


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