Gun certainly.... Drugs step this way.... a Drink, er... Identity card, please.... You want to place a Bet.....certainly not!


Is America such an enigma? It is a country with deep seated morals; the trouble is some of the morals themselves are in the wrong seats. Let's not even try and begin to get used to saying, Lincoln, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Ronnie......and Trump in the same breath without a trace of irony. I was in the United States for the Kentucky Derby. Their premier Blue Riband racing event takes place at Churchill Downs in Kentucky; a State where they are so horse-mad that the Bridal Suite is spelled Bridle and comes with a saddle and stirrups.  As I watched an endless parade of semi-celebs with purse string smiles and IQ’s to match their shoe size on TV, I thought I would at least liven up the festivities with my host at home watching the event with a party of friends, by offering to place a bet for everyone. God, you would have thought I had farted! A room full of people and no one was putting on a bet with actual money! So the least I could do after downing lethal Kentucky Mint Juleps (a bit like gorgeous is not enough and three too many) was to offer to place bets as a thank you all round. I went on-line and tried to log on to my UK bookie account at Ladbrokes. Blocked. Puzzled I thought there was a problem on the site and chose another UK betting site Betfair to open an account with. Again, the computer would not let me. I called the number. "Are you trying to bet from the States?" I confirmed I was. "You can't. It's restricted. You have to bet there. Good bye." Yup you got it. "Furnerz cahn't place bets ah-brawd, " drawled a helpful voice from the party from the assembled throng. "Havta' bet on track, in Vegas o-ar owwwn line with ah Yu Ess bookie." In the U.S. you can download porn that would make your teeth itch, but God help you trying to make a bet abroad on a legal gambling web site run by a publicly listed company. Not to be defeated I simply went to the web site of the betting company that had paid a humongous amount to be the sole off track bookie for the biggest horse race on the American calendar. Step forward Well I try to fill in the form but it needs my US zip code and social security number. I rang their help desk. "Excuse me, I'd like to bet on the big race." "Sure sir. What's your account number?" "I don't have one." "Please go on line to set one up." "I can't." "My apologies sir, are you partially sighted? Let me put you through to opening an account by phone." "I can't because I don't live in the USA. I'm visiting. I don't have a zip code nor social security number. I have credit and debit cards, passport visa...." "Well sorry, sir. Non Americans can't bet." That's it! Who is the genius that decided that any visitor from abroad (the Chinese will bet on the number of audible 'snack crackle and pops' in a bowl of cereal) is excluded from betting on their greatest horse race? It must cost the betting industry $100s of millions of dollars over a year.

...and another thing

The States is a wonderful but contradictory country. With no real security checks, the law will allow me at a local Gun Fair not only to buy candy floss (cotton candy) and a toffee apple but an assault weapon that can drill someone by up to ten rounds a second. But this same law is equally worried at the moral turpitude of me making a $50 bet?!?!

Undeterred I wandered off to town to see if I could find a ‘numbers’ guy. No idea what it means, even after 50 years of watching American movies, but sounded like my solution. No luck, I did get offered drugs….and I’m sure if I’d wanted it just about anything else from a night with twin nymphomaniac nuns to a day with a midget, an aardvark and a defrocked priest.

But nowhere could I make a bet.

...and another thing

I think I may have doubled up on my Derby bet with Trump being President. A challenging prospect but at least I’d have won enough money to have a booze filled evening with the winnings…..unless I was in Utah or any number of dry towns and counties that seem to be anti-abortion, pro-gun and keen to know if I am Baptist, Mormon, Ana Baptist, Methodist or, Presbyterian… but they who won’t even sell me a bottle of the ‘blood of Christ’. I respect religion but I thought we were forever in conflict with people who allowed religious beliefs to override the agreed laws of the land?

Ah well, I hope I have not alienated all my dear American friends. I bet they think I’m a crazy Limey….well, at least they can find a bookmaker who will  take that wager!

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  1. Yum Yum says:

    Haha….. You should really be running for their presidency!!

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