'I'm so happy!' Twist in punter's tragic typo tale
It was hard to supress a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye delivering this news to 57-year-old punting tragic and disability pensioner Phillip Omerovic over the phone – so we are happy to share it with you here.
Yesterday, 9news.com.au readers were devastated for Mr Omerovic, who missed out on thousands of dollars due to a printing error in the Herald Sun newspaper’s TAB form guide.
He spent a sleepless night sick over the cruel twist of fate but by this afternoon was exclaiming, "I can’t believe it, I’m so f------ happy!"
Monday’s Herald Sun newspaper incorrectly identified the quadrella at Geelong as comprising races 5, 6, 7 and 8. Like he does most mornings, a largely immobile Mr Omerovic studied the guide based on those numbers. Except yesterday, something different happened.
Mr Omerovic correctly picked the winners in all four races – a feat that should have returned about $3000 for his $1 wager. He was doing cartwheels.
However, the issue was that his "win" was based on a typo. The Geelong quadrella was actually over races 7, 8, 9 and 10 and instead paid a whopping $33,000.
The bet Mr Omerovic placed over the phone with TAB therefore included the wrong horses and paid nothing.
"I feel sick. I’m livid. They’ve taken thousands off me, I thought it was my turn to win. I was going to buy some new shoes," he said.
"I am a pensioner, my mum just passed away, so when I won the quaddie and then the form guide was wrong I thought that would be about my luck."
But today, after reading about Mr Omerovic’s tragic situation on this website, Sportsbet, a rival betting company to TAB, picked up the phone.
After being put in touch with Mr Omerovic by 9News, they knocked on the pensioner’s door and handed him a cheque for $5000 – roughly $2000 more than he expected to win based on his bet.
"I’m so f------ happy," he said, choking back tears of his own.
"I was sick all night. Mate, put it this way, I’m pretty crook at the moment but I feel pretty bloody good today.
Now yes, this is a shameless public relations exercise by an Australian betting behemoth and yes, we’re publishing this update knowing full well they’ll be popping champagne corks over at Sportsbet HQ.
But with so many stories ending in tears these days, it's nice to deliver one that ends with a smile.
"Sportsbet always puts their punters first so when we heard of this story of how Phillip had been hard done by we felt obliged to do the right thing," Sportsbet's Ella Zampatti said.
"We got in touch with Phillip after we’d read the article to find out what the shoes were he was looking to buy and went to deliver them to him, along with a cheque for $5000."
In addition to his new shoes, Mr Omerovic says he plans to trade in his old car and upgrade to something a bit more flash.
TAB, meanwhile, says the printing error is a fault of the Herald Sun. And the Herald Sun says it accepts no responsibility.