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Monday, July 30, 2012

The British bookies

It's illegal for British bookies to accept bets from Americans, and the credit card companies over here won't allow you to place money with them anyway. But every four years, I wish we could.

The British bookies are far superior to their American counterparts. They give odds on most of the major Olympic sports, something Las Vegas sportsbooks mostly ignore. They not only make odds on who will win every event, but even offer odds on whether a certain swimmer will place in the top three, and whether a world record will be broken in that event.

There are a number of bets I'd love to make. Yannick Agnel still pays off two to one in the 200, even after his spectacular relay leg last night. Taewhan Park pays off sixteen to one, which is a bet worth making just because the odds on him shouldn't be so long. And there are a number of other events where I disagree with the odds.

British online bookies, by virtue of their legality, are more respectable than the traditional American variety. They have names like Ladbroke's (sounds like Lloyd's of London to me). And money is deposited first, then used for bets, so there's none of the "You know I'm good for it" routine that can happen when arrangements are more informal. (Thus, no informal breaking of legs either.)

Oh well. I'll have to be content with watching the swimming in an interested, but financially disinterested, fashion.

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