Coral wins case over ‘Rangers relegation’ bet

The bet was placed in the Tollcross shop. Picture; Google Maps
The bet was placed in the Tollcross shop. Picture; Google Maps
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A former bookmaker who sued a betting chain for £250,000 winnings over Rangers relegation has lost the action.

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Arnold Kinloch placed £100 on the Ibrox club being relegated from the SPL in 2011 and was given odds of 2500 by Coral Racing.

The club went into administration in February 2012 and later into liquidation that year and returned to playing in the bottom tier of the Scottish senior leagues in the SFL Third Division.

Mr Kinloch,72, of Simshill Road, in Glasgow, took Coral to the Court of Session in Edinburgh after it refused to pay out on the bet he placed on September 5 in 2011 at its branch in Glasgow’s Tollcross Road.

His betting slip read: “From SPL - Rangers to be relegated” and maintained that relegation meant an SPL side started the next season in a lower league.

Coral contended that relegation was confined to going down only one league on points, according to league rules.

It said Rangers Football Club Plc sold its one share in the SPL to Sevco Scotland following the sale of assets by administrators, which required the approval of at least eight members of the SPL and the application was refused, making it no longer eligible to play in the top tier.

It then applied to join the SFL and was permitted to come into the lowest league.

Lord Bannatyne said: “The foregoing process cannot be described as being moved by anyone to a lower division, or being moved down or demoted.”

The judge said: “I am satisfied that what did not happen was that the SPL moved or demoted Rangers to a lower division.”

“Rangers ended up in a lower division by the entry into a contract which allowed them to join the SFL in the third division,” said the judge.

“I am persuaded that the reasonable man is not only directed but driven to the rules of a particular sport when placing a bet in a sporting context. The natural and ordinary meaning of a sporting term is the definition of that term within the rules of that sport,” he said.

Lord Bannatyne said: “It would be impossible for a betting business to be run and for it to offer bets on sporting events without reference to the rules of the sports.”

The judge said: “I am satisfied that the odds of 2500/1 to a reasonable person placing a bet as well as the reasonable bookmaker would clearly indicate that relegation meant what is contended for by the defenders (Coral) that is, the highly unlikely event.”

Lord Bannatyne said he was persuaded that the sound construction of the bet placed was that advanced by the betting firm. He added: “Accordingly, on this construction of the pursuer’s bet it is a losing bet.”

Mr Kinloch told the court that he had been following media reports over Rangers financial troubles before placing the wager.

He said in a statement: “I thought it was a good ‘throw away bet’ and I didn’t expect to win but there was a small possibility that I would win.”

“Nobody at Coral suggested to me they would only pay out if Rangers went down on sporting prowess or on points, and in fact they didn’t try to negotiate with me at all on the bet,” he said.

Mr Kinloch’s position was he had placed the bet as “a punter” but told the court that he had been a bookmaker’s clerk and bookmaker.

He accepted that in the past he has been asked not to lay bets in certain betting shops. He said the average guy in a betting shop was “a complete mug”, but described himself as “not a mug punter”.

He also accepted during the earlier hearing that he knew the SPL and SFL had rules and that he was very good at looking things up on the internet.