Grandfather, 85, wins stunning record bet at Nottinghamshire Betfred


An 85-year-old grandfather won an astonishing bet at almost 90,000 to one at a Betfred in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Janus ‘George’ Wagenbeck became a record holder after betting just three pence on a ten times football accumulator, and winning £2,686.04.

This puts George, grandfather of three, in Betfred folklore, as no one in living memory remembers anyone winning so much with such a small stake.

George placed his bet at the Betfred store on Low Street in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

He bet there would be draws in 10 games between Millwall-Preston, Wimbledon-Cheltenham, Bradford-Leyton Orient, Colchester-Rochdale, Swindon-Crawley, Dundee-Dundee United, Hibernian-Hearts, Ross County-Aberdeen and St Mirren-Motherwell – and finally the World Cup qualifiers between Lebanon and Iraq.

He said: “I always choose draws because that’s how games start. That’s what you start with – and in Scotland there always seem to be more draws.

George, who is something of a fitness fanatic who always walks the mile from his home to the Betfred shop where he’s been known to regularly do push-ups on chairs.

He became a political refugee after leaving his hometown of Budapest, Hungary, at the age of 20.

Upon arriving in England, George, who was already a skilled toolmaker, found himself a job as a fitter within a week, married and had a daughter.

He played tournament chess, representing Mansfield Chess Club – and was known for his expert tactics, reintroducing the King’s Gambit opening move.



He only placed 3p on the line

He was also a keen bodybuilder, tamed through his strict regimen of exercise and diet which in 1969 saw him crowned ‘Mr Nottingham’.

“I’ve had some big football wins over the years, way bigger than this one,” he said.

“But again I usually bet over 3p which is basically loose change I had in my pocket.

“I took about two hours studying the matches and left it late to get to the store to make my bet because the game against Lebanon started at noon. I was convinced the Scottish matches would all be draws, as is often the case up there.

“I didn’t know I had won until I checked the paper the next day. I felt good, but I can’t jump much these days – only small jumps!

After finding out about the remarkable victory, Betfred boss Fred Done spoke to George and arranged for free champagne.

He said: “I was always a winner because I set out to achieve things. My ambition is to skin Betfred for a million!

“I take care of myself and eat lots of wheat germ and sardines two or three times a week. For breakfast I have peanuts and dried fruits.

“My family will receive part of the money. I haven’t really treated myself as I’m happy to exercise – and eat and drink whatever I want at any time that suits me.

Mr Done added: “George, a regular at Betfred for years, has my heartfelt congratulations.

“I’ve been in this business for over 50 years and I can’t remember anyone earning so much on just three pence. It’s a truly remarkable victory, with him beating odds of virtually 90,000/1.

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