Money goes to money, so the saying goes. It’s a key feature of capitalism, both its biggest driver and drawback. London is built on the principle of buying money. Some call it investing. Others refer to it as gambling. It’s a bit of both, I’m sure. I’m not much of a gambler. I am risk averse. I play life safe, perhaps too safe. But I do like buying money when it’s on offer. Londoners with lots of money gamble on the stock exchange. Those with more limited means chase bigger odds with the bookies.
Over the last couple of years, the amount of money Britons have been gambling online has soared. It’s really, really noticeable. Gambling was once the domain of the high street bookmakers, punters wagering on the outcome of horse or greyhound racing. Or the football pools, largely run by Littlewoods. Now friends and colleagues in far greater numbers have the latest apps on their phones ready to put a pound or two on football matches. During the World Cup, everyone went a bit crazy. It’s not entirely surprising, given the bombardment of TV ads. Poor Ray Winstone. He used to be a half decent actor before he sold his soul to the devil.
I don’t like to gamble. I tell friends that if they want to get into gambling and win, then open a bookmakers. But I do like to buy money. Who doesn’t. The competition between bookmakers has been so fierce that they’ve been giving away crazy odds as introductory offers. Download their app, deposit some cash and they’ll give you a one time gift of enhanced odds and or a free bet.
Here’s the trick. Don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose. Take the bookies offer. Withdraw the cash. Delete the app. Move on to the next introductory offer. It’s not that there’s no risk at all. But the deals were good. Argentina to beat Bosnia at 4/1? I’ll have some of that. So did Mrs P. We put down the maximum of £10 each. Of course Argentina won. So did we. Thank you Mr Coral for the £80. And goodbye.
Another bookmaker later gave me some free money for Germany overcoming Algeria. That added £30 to my bank account. Yet another gave me odds of Brazil beating Colombia at 4/1. Thank you again. I lost only one intro offer, and that was a bet I couldn’t technically lose anyway. You see, I had also bet on Colombia to beat Brazil. I was going to be a winner either way. I left the tournament £80 up. Hardly a fortune. But nice anyway. Alas, most of my friends got carried away. At best, they broke even. That’s because none of them took my tip and opened up a bookmakers. They did very nicely indeed.
Anyway, that’s enough of the betting scourge. Who else were winners this World Cup? Germany, obviously. Colombia too, who have an awful lot more fans now. Their star player, James Rodriguez, was a winner and his bank account will soon reflect that. I spent the run up to the World Cup telling everyone he’s the best kid since Ronaldo or Messi hit the scene. They are believers now.
Finally there’s me. Again. Do you remember my pre-tournament prediction? I didn’t do so bad. I went for Germany beating Argentina in the final by one goal. I picked three of the four semi finalists. Although admittedly I did get a lot of the group results wrong. I was disappointed by the Ivory Coast. I really hoped they’d finally do something that reflects the talent in their squad. Russia and Croatia both disappointed to, although in my defence the Croatians lost one of their key players to injury just before the competition started. Still. I’m just left to wonder what the odds were on Germany beating Argentina before the whole thing kicked off….