An insight into the types of people who bet on sport
If it was only self-interest that brought people to bet on sport, there wouldn’t be the extent of prize money for bookies and punters to justify the effort of their attentions.
Rather, the lure of sport is the chance of becoming part of a community: people taking part in group passions.
Aged between ten and 16, sport and betting took up much of Kaitlyn’s time. Today, the single mother works at her local bookmakers.
The 57-year-old opened the Potters Bar branch for the fifth time this year. “It’s what I know best,” she says.
“I can’t think of another job I could do. I love the job and I love my customers.”
Her is the kind of job that puts an emphasis on customer service, ensuring the levels of service is the same whether customers are new to her or long-standing.
For those who pick up odds on a weekly basis, such an approach comes naturally. In Kaitlyn’s case, she thinks it has saved her, and her son’s life.
Her 12-year-old son, Brandon, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which sees him struggle to concentrate and pay attention.
Kaitlyn reckons he might have developed the condition since beginning his hobby in 2009.
He didn’t watch television until he was seven years old, instead watching the sport and telling his mother how each sportsman scored.
She says he used to fall asleep on his granddad’s lap while watching his dad play golf.
“He loves sport, and he knew the odds. He could tell you how each player would do.
“He would stay up all night and tell me what he thought. So I thought it would be good if I gave him an outlet.”
Brandon was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, and Kaitlyn tried various options to keep him active. The most difficult was engaging with an “invented culture of sport” he had picked up, which had no place in his “real life”.
What has been your career highlight?
My team won the league title for the first time in my 13th year at the bookmaker.
I’m incredibly proud, but also surprised. It has been a long, hard year. I would never have thought that in our sport.
What did you have to sacrifice to get it?
I left my job and my social life. I cut myself off from social media, and friends. I had to make it a priority.
What would you tell someone considering a career in sports betting?
Everyone has to start somewhere, no matter how old you are. In life, you may feel stuck and that there is nothing to do, and you are too busy to do it.
If you can put an hour a week in to your job, it is worth it. You might be able to be part of something.
There are good people here who have been in this industry for 30 or 40 years and they tell us how they got to where they are now. They say it is a career you can have for the rest of your life.
Why are you interested in sharing your story?
I’ve decided to open my arms to people that are new to betting on sport. I want them to be able to come to me.
So I am now speaking at educational conferences, and to the Mind charity about how to keep in touch with your children with special needs.