Friday 18 March 2016 11:55 am

Luck’s been a lady: Bookies pay out £50m so far as “worst Cheltenham ever” for betting industry goes into Gold Cup Day

The odds weren't on the punters to win this year, but savvy betting has put the bookies down by £50m at the start of Gold Cup Day. 

The betting industry is holding its breath for respite on the final day of the week-long event after having to pay out over £50m so far over this week's Cheltenham Festival 2016. The industry is worried this will be the worst ever Cheltenham for payouts. 

Global payments provider Worldpay predicted earlier this week that Cheltenham would boost bookies' transactions by 50 per cent – but it seems this year luck has been a lady and bookies are having to pay out to a record degree.

"There has never been a Cheltenham festival like it on the track or off it," a William Hill spokesman said.

"The betting public are toasting the great racing and are backing winners in unprecedented numbers. For us it has been the longest week – quite simply the worst Cheltenham festival ever in terms of payouts. We have lost money every day so far – and can only hope Gold Cup day provides some respite."