Seriously, this article is exactly what it says on the tin. I think John Cleese based his character in Rat Race on people he had met while living in England. I don't think I have ever seen a group of people more willing to while away their money on just about anything. "Hey, Mary is about to eat a chocolate from the assorted box. I bet you a fiver it has caramel in it!" You might remember how a few weeks ago I mentioned that there was betting on the Royal Wedding. You could bet on what celebrities would be there, what color the Queen's hat would be and who, if anyone, would object. You could even bet on the couples first dance, when they will have their first child, its gender, and, if you feel really adventurous, what its name will be.
Not only that but they even take sports betting to a new level. Back in the states when you bet on a horse race, you can bet who will Win, Place and Show as well as trifectas and the like. In England, you can bet on How many lengths the winner will win by. You can even bet who will come in last. Don't even get me started in cricket. You can actually bet on every bowl. Every time the ball is thrown, you can bet if it will be hit, missed and, if hit, how many runs it will be worth. You can even bet how the next out will be recorded. Football betting can be on specific players to score and how long it will take.
Even Eurovision had open betting. They even had a form guide for it! Imagine the Daily Racing Form but with Song Analysis. I kid you not, here is an actual excerpt from Moldova's entry: "Moldova is one of the only songs that could be put into the novelty act category this year. While the performance should help it score well with the public, juries are likely to be considerably less keen. All in all, this makes in a borderline qualifier, despite it deserving much more than that." Its like if Mike Watchmaker of the DRF wrote for Billboard.
The best part is the places to bet. Back home, the bigger cities may have an OTB or other off-track betting shop. Here in England, there are still book-keepers. And you get a choice to. Ladbrokes (apt name if you ask me), William Hill, Blue Square, and Corral all offer different odds. The horse going off at 100/1 at Corral could be the favorite at William Hill. "Punting" as betting in England is known seems to have its own science behind it. When I bet on the Grand National Horse Race earlier this year, I had to learn how to read the British racing form. If you have ever had trouble with the DRF back home, don't even try to read the Racing Post here.
So what have we learned. Basically, Englishmen will bet on anything that has multiple possible outcomes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to bet how long it takes before someone openly mocks David Cameron at Prime Minister's Question Hour tomorrow.