The V75 – The World’s Greatest Game

    Betting turnovers on Nordic harness
racing have increased rapidly
over the past few years. Denmark,
Finland, Norway and Sweden all noted
vast increases for 2007, and it has continued
this year. Betting on horses is up 16
per cent in Norway and 10 per cent in
Sweden. Similar numbers are seen in
Denmark and Finland. The source of the
remarkable turnaround is the V75 bet.
Although it is not a completely new type
of betting it is still improving by gaining
new fans. This is the story of the V75.
    Pari-mutuel wagering on horseracing
in the Scandinavian countries began in
1885 as harness racing was introduced in
Copenhagen and Denmark. However
Sweden had problems with their government,
and wagering wasn’t allowed there
before 1927.
    Only two types of betting were
offered, win and place. It took 30 years
before racing executives started thinking
in other terms. They wanted to offer the
punters a possibility to win larger sums
of money, and the choice fell on a bet
called V5, a simple Pick 5, which was
introduced at Jägersro Racetrack in
Malmö (the most southern Swedish racetrack, close to the Danish capital
Copenhagen). The way of betting pickgames
was already introduced in
Copenhagen during the late 1950s, first
through a V3 and later with a V5.

    The rules were simple: the punter had
to pick the winners of five consecutive
races (normally the races two through six
on the card). The punter could choose to
pick more horses in one or more legs, however the more horses the costlier the ticket. Each combination costs 1 krona
(approximately 15 cents), and the number
of combinations was calculated as follows:
   If you pick only one horse in each
leg, the price will be 1x1x1x1x1 = 1 combination of 1 krona. Two horses in each
leg would cost 2x2x2x2x2 = 32 kronor.
You could also bet like this 1x2x3x4x5 =
120 kronor. You might ask, why not pick
all horses running, but with at least 12
horses in each leg that would cost
248.832 kronor. Considering that some
races had up to 30 runners at that time,
the V5 was quite an expensive and therefore
difficult game. Many punters could
only afford a few combinations.
    The V5 bet was well accepted, especially
in Sweden, but due to inflation
it became cheaper and cheaper to bet,
and more and more punters picked five winners, the dividends developed in the
wrong direction, and the V5 did not
become a money generator for the harness
racing industry. 
    In the beginning of the 1970s
Swedish racing ended up in a sheer crisis.
The industry had boomed in the 1960s,


Klaus Koch

and the all time record attendance was
noted at the main track Solvalla in 1969,
where the average attendance was more
than 11,000 (compared to 2008 where
the same number is down to 3,000
including the Elitlopp race days).
     But something happened. A second
television channel, TV2, was introduced,
and people started to refrain from
attending racing and betting especially
at the small country tracks. However, the
industry was remarkably big, and racing
politicians turned towards the government
and begged for help.
     The industry itself had an idea, that
a big pool bet could save racing, but the
V5 was not ideal. It was too easy to solve,
and an idea of doubling the price per

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