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Peter Smith on an experiment for next Tuesday night

February 28th, 2008

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    Elite Betting and the March 4th Primaries

In an earlier thread I mentioned at Mike’s request some possible future PB activities but there was one fairly ambitious idea for which I did not have space.

There is no doubt that this site has been a colossal success since it started in March 2004. There are many reasons and we could all list a number of ingredients – Mike, his open approach, the free and willing contributions by many talented and varied posters. It has become required reading for anybody interested in politics, not just political betting. What makes it so special though?

At a rough guess, I should say that fewer than 10% of posts are from those who bet to any significant extent. So why do the other 90% or so drop in? One prominent PBer put it succinctly. “They know that money is not partisan.” In other words, they appreciate that if serious punters are putting their money down, there must be some good reason for it. It is the betting element that gives the site its edge. I do not wish to demean all the other valuable and interesting contributors, but it is the punters who, though numerically small, lie at the heart of the site.

Despite its success, it has however a major problem. It does not make Mike much money, and certainly not as much as it deserves. Poiliticalbetting.com is a hugely successful brand but so far it has been extremely difficult to exploit it financially.

One idea for remedying this lies in trying to bridge the gap between the site, as part of the blogosphere, and the mainstream media. My apologies to all you media types out there but frankly I think the coverage of politics in the conventional UK media is pretty poor, especially once one moves outside mainstream UK politics. To find out what’s going on, I generally start at PB and work out from there. Mike’s site provides a fine service for me, but what does he get out of it apart from a little advertising money?

Some time ago he was contacted by a TV production crew who wanted to do a piece on PB. Fine, but what was there to film? Pictures of people sitting at home before their PCs do not make for riveting TV. What however if the cameras could report the activities of political gamblers operating from the equivalent of a Trading Room?

Elitebet Ltd has offered Politicalbetting.com, free of charge, the use of one of its rooms for an all night political betting session on Tuesday March 4th when the next round of key US Primaries are being held. Mike and I will be there, along with Double Carpet, Morus and anybody else from PB who wishes to attend what we hope could be a groundbreaking session. If all goes well, we will repeat the exercise for the Mayoral Election, but our eyes are firmly fixed on the next really big political betting event, the US Presidentials in November. By that time, we would hope to know whether Elite’s Trading Room gives us a focal point which will attract national mainstream media coverage.

There are 22 trading seats available at the Highgate location. Since we considered it unlikely we could provide that many PBers for the inaugural event, Elite will be inviting some of its regular punters along, so please don’t assume you can just turn up and take a vacant place. You must contact me first if you plan to be there, not least because details are still being worked out with the company, which will no doubt need all our bona fides before granting access.

Meanwhile, if anybody has any thoughts about this little venture, or indeed any suggestions at all to help PB fly a little higher, please put them forward. These are exciting times for the site. Mike, I and all its well-wishers will be pleased to hear from you.

  • If you want to be involved in next Tuesday’s event, please contact me at
    arklebar@talktalk.net or ring me on 07880 553351a Elite’s premises are located near Highgate Tube at: 381 Archway Road, London N6 4ER. More information about Elite can be found at: http://www.elitebet.com/index.htm
  • Peter the Punter (Peter Smith)






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