Bookmakers Lindsay Gallagher (left) and John Carey will be taking bets at the Ipswich Cup today, as they have for the past 30 years.
Bookmakers Lindsay Gallagher (left) and John Carey will be taking bets at the Ipswich Cup today, as they have for the past 30 years. David Nielsen

Old-school bookies add atmosphere

MANY punters have tried their luck with veteran bookmaker Lindsay Gallagher since he first entered the betting ring at the Ipswich Cup more than 30 years ago.

This year will be no different, as Mr Gallagher will again be joined by his bagman John Carey to take the bets of Ipswich punters eyeing a big win to make their day out profitable.

"It always is a good day and we have been blessed with good weather the last couple of years. It's always a good day and well promoted by the turf club," Mr Gallagher said.

"Yeah it's good. I mean there is a lot more money around. We take some big bets."

He commended the club on the continual success of the Ipswich Cup, which is expected to attract 20,000 patrons this year.

But the pulsating atmosphere a betting ring generated on regular occasions in years gone by is now an annual event at most turf clubs around Australia.

Crowds which flocked to mid-week race meetings decades ago have disappeared, along with the demand for bookies.

While having a punt on a horse race is sure to be part of the horseracing industry for generations to come, the odds of finding a bookmaker trackside in the same time frame are lengthening.

Mr Gallagher said when he first started taking bets, 60 bookies clambered for the punter's money, compared to the 20 likely to be on hand today.

"There are a lot less bookies. The numbers are falling. The young people are not coming through. They bet on the internet instead," he said.

"There are no bookies in New Zealand and there is no atmosphere at the race track.

"In fact, our numbers have dropped by a third in the last 12 months."



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