Biggest Punter Zeljko Ranogajec
born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1961. His parents came to Australia as
studied to be lawyer at the University Of Tasmania but soon realised
he was probably always going to be a better punter than a lawyer.
His self discovered memory skills allegedly found him banned from
the Hobart Wrest Point casino for card counting (where he worked for
a short while part-time) and Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast.
Interestingly he met his wife and business partner Shelley Wilson
at the Wrest Point Casino where she worked as well. It is understood
that these bans made him look seriously at racing and lotteries -
not only in Australia but world wide.
His initial bankroll
is rumoured to have been just a few hundred dollars which he turned
in to a small fortune through what he called 'advantage betting' -
card counting at the game of blackjack being one of his major skills.
In fact in 2011, he was inducted in to the Blackjack Hall Of Fame
as a "professional gambler from Australia and former blackjack
Hall of Fame is housed at the Barona Casino, in San Diego, California.
The Barona Casino awards to each inductee a permanent lifetime complimentaries
for full room, food, and beverage, in exchange for each member’s
agreement never to play on Barona’s tables.
The casino bans
saw him turn his attention to all sorts of other areas. He reportedly
won a multi million dollar Keno jackpot at the North Ryde RSL in 1994.
Although he bet more than the $7.5 million jackpot that was on offer,
he won more than the first prize money by picking up numerous smaller
prizes from his multiple entries. This is a great example of the small
margins he strives to attain by betting huge amounts at short odds,
or, in some cases, simply for the Tote "commission" he gets
paid as a prime customer.
It could be argued
(and is in many forums) that it is these commissions (or rebates)
that greatly disadvantage the smaller punters betting in to the same
pools. A TabCorp spokesman stated, in response to media stories, that
the corporation "investigated the incidents" and found "no
evidence of illegal activity", but reminded that "the offering
of tote-odds betting products by corporate bookmakers has inherent
pool manipulation risks."
The Herald Sun
on May 20 2011 reported that they had "been contacted by
several punters angry that one of Australia's biggest professional
punters is plonking massive place bets on hot favourites on Tabcorp's
SuperTAB to exploit a kickback deal he has with Tote Tasmania.
is as high as 6 or 7 per cent on every dollar bet and works because
Tote Tasmania co-mingles with SuperTAB pools. To avoid big losses
on the professional punter's horses, costs are being covered by slashing
the place odds for punters who have backed other horses."
In 2010, Ranogajec
and his Hobart based business partner David Walsh, were reported to
have bid for Tote Tasmania when it was being floated as a great privatisation
idea by the idea bereft Tasmanian Government before they pulled it
off the market in the face of enormous opposition. The Tote was supposedly
for sale for $200-300 million and most of the big gambling companies
- including Tabcorp, Tattersalls, British firm Ladbrokes and Greek
firm Intralot - are believed to have submitted offers.
not do interviews but "reportedly" employs dozens and dozens
of people directly or indirectly to do the form and be "opportunity
spotters". It is not known if this true or otherwise. He is also
alleged to have an office on the top floor of the Tabcorp Building
and at Foxsports headquarters in Pyrmont in Sydney. He also allegedly
accounts for about 8% of Tabcorp's annual turnover.
His overall betting
operation runs worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According
to "those that know" he chases small margins in pools with
a large percentage of "mug money" that swells the pools
to bigger than what you would normally expect. By doing this he virtually
controls the totes and is one of the reasons why, again according
to "those who know", many bigger punters have switched to
Betfair and left the totes to the mugs.
An article about
him on news.com.au listed his method of winning partly as:
He hires an
army of analysts to conduct computer and video analysis of horse racing
and other gambling activities. Betting markets anywhere in the world
are selected based on large pools where his team can bet unlimited
amounts at the last minute
* For horse
racing, numerous factors are taken into account before a decision
is made on what to back. Horses are divided into two groups:
those who can't run a place, and those who can
* Horses are
either eliminated or given a weighting based on their odds. His "value
pick" system is geared towards looking for horses that are over
the odds based on their percentage chance of winning
linked to the tote allow his team to bet late, preventing
average punters from following his bets
* He is believed
to operate on low single digit profit margins
In an article
in The Australian, December 34 2011, they wrote:
"AUSTRALIA'S biggest gambler, a reclusive maths wiz who bets
more than $1 billion each year, is being examined by the Australian
Taxation Office. Tasmanian-born
Zeljko Ranogajec accounts for between 6 and 8 per cent of Tabcorp's
$10bn Australian betting turnover and is said by experts to be the
world's biggest punter..........Hundreds
of bets are queued up in the TAB system and are placed in the final
seconds as horses fill the barrier stalls, so that opportunistic betters
cannot follow the money as the odds tumble. Win and place bets may
fit into his repertoire, but the big money is in the exotics - trifectas
(1st, 2nd, 3rd), quartets (the first four placegetters) and quaddies
(the winners of four nominated races). These types of bets offer big
pools and opportunities for big payouts..................."