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 Inside Out - West Midlands: Monday September 20, 2004

THE BIG GAMBLE

Adrian Fitzpatrick celebrating
Would you risk it all?

You may be partial to the occasional flutter. You may even have had a wager on Euro 2004. But the odds are you probably didn't gamble a whopping £50,000 on Spain to win. Inside Out meets one man who did.

Adrian Fitzpatrick is your definitive "rags to riches", self made millionaire.

Although Adrian has a passion for gambling, his fortune wasn't won on a wager, it was earned - through good old fashioned hard work.

From humble beginnings running a flower stall, Adrian now runs a successful florist business in Birmingham.

But that doesn't stop Adrian risking massive amounts of hard earned cash on his favourite pastime and this year Adrian is planning the flutter of a lifetime.

Fancy a flutter?

Adrian relaxing by his swimming pool
Adrian's luxurious lifestyle was gained through hard work

For many, gambling is an entertaining way of getting rid of small change, but for Adrian, it's a serious business.

Successful wins in the past, including a wager of £8,000 that brought about a healthy return of £495,000, have fuelled Adrian's desire.

He originally plans to place a £100,000 bet on the European Football Championships.

This would make him the first punter to win a million pounds on a single bet - if of course, he wins.

The bet is halved due to cold feet - not Adrian's - the bookmakers. But even with half his original amount, Adrian could be set to make a pretty tidy sum.

With the amount and the fixture decided, all that's left is the small matter of picking the winning team.

Inside Information

Like any other business venture, Adrian does his homework and with a useful network of European flower salesman at his disposal, Adrian is confident he can get the scoop.

"The golden rule is 'information is power'," reveals Adrian.

Adrian in a bar in Spain
Adrian hopes to get inside information in a Spanish bar

With a similar climate to the host country Portugal, Adrian fancies Spain's chances, but a second opinion never goes amiss.

A short plane trip later and Adrian arrives in the Spanish holiday resort Almeria.

But sun, sea and sand are the last things on Adrian's mind as he gets the inside story on local blooms and Spain's chances in Euro 2004.

"I've learnt a lot about the plants, but I've learnt invaluable information about the football," explains Adrian.

"If you're betting £50,000, you've got to be sure of your information."

Viva Espania

Even with research, no bet is a sure thing, so how can Adrian justify risking three times the national average wage?

"I've earned it honestly. I've worked hard and if I want to spend it that way, then I'll spend it that way," argues Adrian.

So Spain enter the European Football Championships with their country's hopes and Adrian's £50,000 riding on them.

Spain vs Portugal in Euro 2004
Portugal go through to the quarter finals dashing Spain's hopes and Adrian's wager

In their opening match they don't disappoint, securing a 1-0 victory against Russia.

With 10 televisions in his house, Adrian makes sure he doesn't miss a second of the action.

Spain are in Group A, ironically alongside finalists Greece and Portugal.

With only two teams able to go through to the quarter finals, competition is fierce.

They go on to draw 1-1 with Greece so Adrian's chances rest on securing a draw or win against Portugal.

For all those who watched Euro 2004, the rest is history and as you'll already know, so is Adrian's wager.

A 1-0 win to Portugal costs Spain their place in the quarter finals and Adrian £50,000.

A valuable lesson

Adrian is distraught but with a successful business to fall back on, at least he won't be spiralling into debt.

Adrian's loss brings gambling sharply into perspective. Gambling is entertainment - winning is just an added bonus.

If you're not prepared to lose the money, don't part with it in the first place.

Whether you're a loose change flutterer or a big-money better, Adrian has a piece of sound advice.

"Don't gamble what you can't afford to lose."

See also ...

On bbc.co.uk
Sport - Euro 2004
One Life - Health - Addiction - Gambling

On the rest of the web
Gaming Board for Great Britain
The Society for the Study of Gambling
GAMCARE
Gamblers Anonymous

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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