Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Finally, Gerald toasts £250k win . . .

An East Belfast man who scooped £250,000 on the races at Royal Ascot was last night celebrating after finally collecting his winnings from his local bookmaker.

An East Belfast man who scooped £250,000 on the races at Royal Ascot was last night celebrating after finally collecting his winnings from his local bookmaker.

Gerald McCready had to wait four days for the cheque to be delivered to Stanleybet's Templemore Avenue bookies in east Belfast from the company's head office in Liverpool.

He said he refused to allow himself to get too excited about his win - the biggest payout in the bookmaker's history - until he had the cheque safely in his possession.

"There is nothing in law that says a bookies has to pay out, it is a gentlemen's agreement, and I was starting to worry because if you have the slightest mistake on your ticket, such as a name spelt incorrectly, you can lose your winnings," he said.

Refusing to put his windfall down to luck, Mr McCready, who only began gambling six months ago, attributed his success to a system he has developed himself.

"I have won before but never as much as this time. When you gamble, you obviously hope to win but you don't actually think it is going to happen, but this proves that my system works and I had a real sense of achievement when I found out I had won."

The dad-of-two has remained remarkably pragmatic about the massive win from his original £15.50 bet and insisted that it is not enough to herald a change in lifestyle.

He intends to invest the money in his business but joked that his 14-year-old daughter "could spend the lot in six months".

The businessman is planning one indulgence - a trip to Hong Kong to test his system on the horse racing there.

"There is no limit to your winnings out there - I actually won about £273,000 but the maximum payout from the bookies is £250,000 - but in Hong Kong it's a different world and there is no limit to the winnings, so I would love to go out there and see how it's done," he said.

"I am going to be sensible - I normally only put a few pounds on at the weekend but made an exception because of Royal Ascot.

"In fact, my daughter doesn't know how much I have actually won and a few days ago she was scolding me about how dangerous gambling can be. I do agree with her to a certain extent, but the money is there for the taking, so why not?

"After all, I have two teenage children and we all know how expensive they can be."

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