It wasn't too long ago that the atmospheric and monetary heart of the races was the Bookies Ring. Oh what a sad slow death they are enduring and how much less the races is without their competitive yelling of odds and banter. They have been squeezed to death by the monolithic N.S.W TAB, corporate bookmakers with interstate addresses and heavy taxation by the Government.
I still miss the old fractional odds they used and I understood far better how much I stood to win or lose with 'even money', '4/1' or 'in the red' than 2.00, 5.00 or 1.90. I miss the old tickets with their often indecipherable swish of crayon and the huge ledgers that bets were recorded in. At least they still have the old bags for the money.
Only a decade ago there would be nearly 100 bookmakers at the July Racing Carnival, now there are only a quarter of that.
You can picture a time in the near future when there will be none left at all, just the blinking screens of the totaliser. Racing is a much poorer event without their colourful presence.
Time to Build the Ark
9 months ago