Bookies are always keen to get headlines, it’s brilliant and free advertising for their business, and Stake.com are known for grabbing people’s attention by taking massive bets then publicising them and other similar stunts.
The crypto currency sportsbook and casino tried a different tactic in January of 2023, by paying out early on Arsenal winning the Premier League.
For anyone who isn’t great with dates, that’s a very early call.
There was still a good 4 months worth of football to play, with each team having around 18 matches to go – that’s a lot of points to play for, and Arsenal were only 5 points clear of Man City in second, although they were 11 points clear of Newcastle in third place.
Stake’s head of marketing made the announcement:
“We’re calling it early – Arsenal are this season’s Premier League Champions. We’ve seen enough of the Gunners to make the decision to pay out on all bets for them to be crowned champions, so fans who had the faith at the start of term won’t have to wait any longer to be paid out.”
“Despite starting the season as the fifth most likely side to lift the title, they’ve stormed to the top of the table in style and we don’t see City, Manchester United or any other rival catching them, meaning we’ll hand over thousands in early payouts so the red side of North London can get the title party started early.”
At the start of the season, Arsenal were 28/1 to win the league, putting them as 5th favourites to lift the trophy, and it would be their first Premier League title since 2004, so paying out early was a big call.
Perhaps not as big a call as the punter who slapped £500 on it though, walking away £14,000 better off four months before the season was even over thanks to the early payout.
Manchester City ‘Stake’ Their Claim
The early payout might have grabbed Stake a few headlines, but it was the wrong call.
Having paid out super early on all bets on Arsenal winning the league, Man City came through into first place and ended up taking the crown for themselves, meaning Stake had to pay out on all Man City bets as well four months later.
Arsenal had pretty much been in first place for the whole season, only losing a single game out of their first 19, but a shock 1-0 defeat away at Everton followed by a 1-1 draw at home against Brentford gave them a wobble, and their next match against Man City themselves.
Their dip in form continued, and City managed to win 3 points from the Gunners at the Emirates and also briefly move into first place, a double whammy.
Arsenal were back to their winning ways with a 7 game winning streak after this, but then hit 3 draws in a row followed by another loss to Man City, this time suffering a nasty 4-1 defeat away from home.
This knocked them down into second and triggered another poor run of form to end the season with. They finished in second place after a brilliant season, but took just 3 wins and 12 points from their final nine games, leading to many saying they had bottled it.
Conversely, City lost just a single game in their final 17 matches, hitting form right when they needed to, and ending the season on 89 points, which was, ironically for Stake, 5 points clear of Arsenal.
It was their 3rd Premier League win in a row, denying Arsenal of what would have been their first in 19 years.