Skip to main content


Gaming – A day in the life of a sports trader

Gaming – A day in the life of a sports trader Icon
Jamie Hickey, General Trader (Sports/Racing) – Kindred Group

The trading life is simple yet exciting, you don’t really know how the day will go until it’s already over. It’s because how anything goes in the gambling industry is completely up to the punter and how they’re feeling on the day, and it’s up to you to do your best and make sure both them and the business walk away happy.

We’ll do the most common shift, a 9am start. For myself, this is one of the easier shifts. I live a 5-minute walk from the office so it doesn’t take too long to get anything done. Wake up at 8am, have a shower, make some toast and coffee and relax a bit before heading out. Once the clock strikes 8:45, out the door and off to work.

Once I’m in the office and my computer is open, the first thing I do on a 9am shift is check what my schedule is for the day. The day is either a horse racing shift, or a general sports shift. Today we’ll go over the horse racing since it’s far more interesting for the time being.

Once I’ve checked that, it’s a simple matter of making sure whatever horse racing meetings I’m covering for the day have my name on them, this just means any bets placed are registered to me and not anybody else. Don’t want anybody to suffer the bad days because you forgot to take the meeting.

With that done, it’s study time. I usually spend about 1-2 hours studying a specific meeting. This involves opening Racing Post and Sporting Life to check the form of each horse, what the sites are saying about them, and if any of the horses in each race have anything curious about them. There’s been a few times where the 3rd or 4th favourite has had decent form in similar situations and you end up bringing the price below market to combat any shrewd punters. When it works out it feels great, but it doesn’t always. It’s a gamble!

At about 11am-12 midday, I get up for a quick lunch break, maybe run home and have something to eat or just pop down the shop next to the office for a sandwich. I always take a long break because once racing starts it can be difficult to get up from the desk for longer than 10 minutes, just because a race goes off every half-hour usually.

90 minutes from my meeting starting you’ll start with your specials. At this point you’ll setup distance specials and favourites specials. Distance specials is just the total winning distance on the day, favourites is points depending on where the favourite finishes.

An hour out, I set up match bets, which is two horses against each other without the rest of the field.

2-3pm is the average time racing starts over the summer, with the times being midday-1pm in the winter to accommodate the sun setting earlier. Once your meet starts, it’s a bit of a battle with punters on difficult days.

They’ll keep smashing the favourites, with the odd interest in 2nd favourite, and it’s my job to make sure things don’t go overboard and we lose a LOT of money, although some days you just won’t win no matter what.

Once the meeting is over, which is by about 5-6pm, I start to wind down. I settle the match bets as I go along, and once the meeting is completely ove, I settle favourites and distances with the totals. With that done, I’m free to go and head home, which is any time between 6 and 7 on a 9am start.

And that’s that! That’s a typical day in the life of a trader. It’s just come in, make punters and the business happy, go home, and repeat it again the next day.

It can seem easy, but it really isn’t. You need to at least have a decent head on your shoulders to spot the little things, like a particular bet on a horse that might interest you and make you change a price, or just knowledge of how the horses run at particular tracks and how to study that. It makes for a very challenging, but a very rewarding job when you get it right.

Get in Touch

We encourage young people to reach out to their careers teams in their schools and universities, or engage directly with the industries featured here.