A Mugs Game

I won a few quid at the races yesterday down at the glorious Lingfield Park. Very nice you might say, but really it only goes to show what an old codger I'm becoming as the years march on.

Attendance at horse racing is down and it's easy to see why. Until relatively recently it was illegal to place a bet anywhere other than a race track. So your honest punter had to go racing to have a flutter, unless they tried their luck with an illicit off-track bookie's runner.

In 1960 it all changed with the Betting and Gaming Act which made it fair play to bet off course. Over the past half a century the industry has expanded into covering football and many other sports. Outside the sporting world you can use spread betting to wager on almost anything from the price of coffee to how many seats the Liberal Democrats will lose in the next election.

Through all this gaming innovation I offer you one gilt-edged tip; however tempted you may be, stay clear of betting on cricket. Especially if the game involves Pakistan.

Peter Clee