WEMBLEY HIGH ROAD has seen an amazing proliferation in betting shops, from the far end (furthest from the stadium), virtually on top of each other,there¹s a Coral, Hills, Gr8odds, Betgeorge, Paddy Power, Better, Ladbrokes, second Paddy Power, then a gap to another Hills by the triangle (next to the Greyhound pub).
The Coral, a former Dreams bed showroom (Dreams might be a good name for a betting shop!), is massive and notable in having a husband and wife team behind the counter: Les Hicks, a Kiwi, is manager, and has been married to Pooja Jadav a couple of years. It was great fun in there and they said Coral TV was going down well. The Hills was tricky to get into as they had a magnetic lock on door which suggested antisocial problems ¬ I felt like Fred Flintstone banging on it.
The Betgeorge is an arcade masquerading as a betting shop to allow gaming machines, but it was interesting as it uses a Betxtech system to link to Betfair and effectively operate as a commission agent. It didn¹t seem to appeal much to punters.
The other independent was much more the real deal. It had just opened in a former solicitors and trades as Gr8odds. It¹s small but nicely done and Richard Thomas turned out to be behind the counter ¬ fair play to him, he spotted me straight away and a coffee was in my hand within seconds. Thomas, once a French teacher, after experience at Hills and Stanley was director of ops at Better. He left there to set up this, his own business and plans a few more shops, and looks cute as you wouldn¹t have imagined there was room for any more business given such a crowd of shops but from what I could see he was doing really well, especially around the Indian Premier League cricket.. And I could get in the door!