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The Winner Takes It All
Written by SE1blue on Wednesday, 31st Jul 2013 08:45

Pixar made millions with a movie about an old man who tied balloons to his house in a desperate attempt to escape an irritating life and fulfil a promise of travelling to South America.

I’m thinking of making a sequel called Down in which another pensioner heads to a betting shop to escape an irritating wife and to try and win enough for a trip to Margate.

In the nineties betting shops were seeking ways in which they could encourage a younger crowd with more disposable income through their front doors. After much head scratching and pontificating it was decided by the gambling management that what was stopping wealthy young men and women from crossing the threshold into a sticky carpeted, smoke-filled den, full of desperate addicts was the fact that they couldn’t see inside.

So, a cunning plan was hatched. Betting shops up and down the country started to remove the screening from their display windows and opened up their stores for the whole world to see what was going on behind the masking.

What they created were very large high street goldfish bowls containing some really weird fish. If you stood outside a betting shop around this time what you would have witnessed through the glass, from the safety of the pavement, was a group of malnourished, dentally-challenged men, twitching and contorting like regulars at a silent epileptic disco.

In between convulsions the punters would spill out onto the pavement to blow clouds of smoke into the sky and swear at the sun. Needless to say, Mr and Mrs Upandcoming chose to take their lattes to House of Fraser and keep their money firmly in their pockets.

So, the screens went back up and online betting sites saved the Charles and Jeremys of this earth from an afternoon with half a dozen Albert Steptoes.

Had the management just locked the toilet and removed all the chairs, they could have saved themselves millions in research and negative publicity, whilst migrating a generation of pensioners back to supermarkets cafes.

Today, my local betting shop is a curious place. Located under a bridge close to London Bridge station, it has no windows, just a front door and a back door. There’s a massive television screen on one wall and gaming machines dotted around the room. The carpet isn’t sticky and the atmosphere is relaxed.

You can buy hot drinks, cold drinks, confectionery and crisps. Its customers include builders, market stall holders, doctors, businessmen and, of course, pensioners. There’s even a toilet, with toilet paper! It’s like a nuclear bunker for gamblers.

I wouldn’t like to vouch for the future of the human race were a bomb to be dropped at 2.15pm on a Thursday afternoon, but our crowd could probably defeat a zombie nation without having to rely on blowing smoke in their faces and gurning them to death. Betting shops are evolving.

Gambling still has a stigma and at the end of the day there are better ways of spending your money. But, if you’re sensible, lucky and limit yourself to just one addiction then what can possibly go wrong?

Should you risk life and limb and enter a betting shop this weekend, here are my tips that might prove more productive than tying 20,000 balloons to your house.

Yankee of draws

Burnley v Bolton

Birmingham v Watford

Middlesbrough v Leicester

Reading v Ipswich

Win double



First goalscorer

Tommy Smith 25/1

Correct score prediction

Reading 2 Ipswich 2


Town to win Championship with +14 points, each way at 18/1.

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

Generic added 10:17 - Jul 31
Interesting - and I know that betting shop! How does the e/w part work as regards the points? Does it come in if they come 2nd, 14pts ahead of 3rd? Or is just placing enough?


SE1blue added 10:24 - Jul 31
Just place. They don't have to be 14 points ahead...the 14 points is just added to the final points total and if they come in the top four (after all the other teams have had their handicap points added too) then you're a winner!

Generic added 11:20 - Jul 31
Thanks. Couldn't find any first goalscorer bets up yet, do they tend to wait till closer to the game to add those markets? I reckon a quid on Tommy Smith is a good shout. Combined with a correct score and you could be looking at silly odds :-) I always like having one very-unlikely-but-wouldn't-it-be-great bet on my slip.


Stretchyboy added 11:21 - Jul 31
I also know the "office" you are talking about..i worked in the area for ten years and spent virtually every lunch time in there (and lots of afternoons when i should've been in work - fortunately it had two exits so i could escape if i saw someone that i didn't want to be seen by) - needless to say, after all these years, i became a compulsive gambler. It's easy to say "if you’re sensible, lucky and limit yourself to just one addiction then what can possibly go wrong? " - because believe me, everything can go possibly wrong, as i have seen it in hundreds of ment and women - i mean, what could also possibly go wrong if you limit yourself to just one injection of crack a day?
Fortunately i have been off for a number of years now. Now, i'm not bitter and want to abolish gambling, but i do feel that it has completely got out of control lately. A lot of football clubs are now being sponsored by betting franchises, there are adverts between every live football game, betting desks are scattered all over inside stadiums and they are blighting our local high streets - the problem is, it is now glamourised so much that it seems the normal thing to do...how many football fans on a saturday afternoon have to have a bet on their favourite team?
Until the government realise that gambling is creating more and more addicts and limits the amount of shops being opened, and events being sponsored, then unfortunately it will progressively get worse, and the addicts will (and are) getting younger and younger.


Generic added 11:47 - Jul 31
Crack should only really be smoked. Injecting it is bad for you.

Stretchyboy added 11:58 - Jul 31
Generic - thats where i'm obviosuly going wrong then LOL

NoCanariesAllowed added 12:45 - Jul 31
"Town to win Championship with +14 points, each way at 18/1."

I'm feeling optimistic this season but even I have to admit, those odds aren't nearly long enough for me to be tempted!!

SE1blue added 13:20 - Jul 31
Stretchyboy...That's a sad tale you tell, but I'm glad you're out the other side.
When I wrote the sentence "If you’re sensible, lucky and limit yourself to just one addiction then what can possibly go wrong? " I had hoped the stupidity of what it was saying would be transparent enough and that nobody would take it literally.
I think comparing gambling to crack is putting the 'stretch' into stretchyboy. One is illegal, the other is not. I agree that there are too many ways people can waste their money on gambling...I think bingo sites are evil and pray on the uneducated and vulnerable.
This is intended to be a light-hearted piece, it is not an instruction to go out and fritter your money on my unreliable predictions.

SitfcB added 13:30 - Jul 31
Is that the one opposite the Barrowboy and Banker pub? Never actually been in there, will check it out this season.

SE1blue added 13:36 - Jul 31
I couldn't possibly say Sitters. <nods head>

TR11BLU added 14:01 - Jul 31
Welcome back with the tips SE Blue.
Brilliant read as ever so please keep up the good work.

Just for the record, I was on the slippery slope, been a gambler for years but sensible stakes. Then along came the internet and the stakes got bigger and bigger. When you use a keyboard the money doesnt seem real. I was winning more than I lost, my current car was financed by Paddy Power, Victor etc. I had several accounts closed down, I took this as a compliment.
Then I took my eye off the ball (pun not intended) when a woman came into my life and without my research I started losing big. I managed to get a grip and closed all my accounts down. I still bet, but with cash and over the counter, it can be controlled and by definition is much less frequent.
Anyway must dash, Dawn Ap[proach is a sur thing and Ladbrokes is a ten minute walkfrom work!
I agree with your prediction of a handful of draws this weekend but then again, with my 'blue tinted' lenses....it has to be a Town win.

Brentford are the stand out bet for this season.

SE1blue added 14:11 - Jul 31
Thanks TR11BLU...your loyalty is like a line of cherries on a fruit machine...always welcome and as they say around these parts...."BE LUCKY!"

SitfcB added 14:51 - Jul 31

Hope these blogs are going to be a weekly think again :)

Tractorog added 21:23 - Jul 31
My first bet was an each way at 10000 to 1 on town to come in the top 3 in the first year we were back. Although we just missed out I enjoyed my bet and got a lot of value from it. My second was to bet that Pablo would be the Prems top scorer the following season.... Strangely that was my last.

budgieplucker added 21:28 - Jul 31
Another good read. Harry from Bath has set an extraordinarily high standard for others to follow but looks like we are getting some excellent blogs from others trying to up the journo game as well. Thanks SE1Bblue for an enjoyable read, look forward to another offering in the not too distant future, plus I work in the City so me thinks I might go and take a curious walk one of these lunchtimes just to see if i can spot the den you are referring to !!!! - don't suppose I would get very good odds on the budgies getting relegated?

Hiltzkooler added 19:55 - Aug 2
Top man SE1 Blue - great read, irreverent and sardonic as ever!...and yes, what odds for Town up and Budgies relegated?


bawsedog added 19:36 - Aug 6
Fantastic. You write so well, I've always enjoyed your blogs. Keep it up!
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