Glasgow & West Scotland

Former bookmaker loses fight over Rangers relegation bet

Albert Kinloch Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Albert Kinloch sued bookmaker Coral

A man who sued Coral for not paying out £250,000 on a bet that Rangers would be relegated has lost his legal fight.

Albert Kinloch, 72, placed £100 at 2,500/1 on the Ibrox club being relegated from the Scottish Premier League (SPL) in the 2011/12 season.

Rangers finished second in the SPL that season but lost their membership of the Scottish football's top league due to off-field issues.

Rangers played the following season in the SFL's Division Three.

Dunfermline Athletic finished bottom of the SPL in 2011/12 and were relegated.

Judge Lord Bannatyne agreed with Coral that Rangers were not relegated.

Mr Kinloch, of Simshill Road in Glasgow, placed his bet on 5 September 2011 at Coral's branch in the city's Tollcross Road.

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

League rules

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

The bookmaker said Rangers Football Club Plc sold its one share in the SPL to Sevco Scotland following the sale of assets by administrators.

That 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 - the SFL Third Division.

Mr Kinloch took his case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh where it was rejected.

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

Image copyright Paul McIlroy/Geograph
Image caption Rangers were removed from the SPL in 2012 following administration and liquidation

He added: "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.

"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.

"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."

'Good throwaway bet'

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 'throwaway 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."

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

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