Sunday, September 27, 2009

You Betcha!


There are betting shops on nearly every corner, with people standing around outside smoking and palming tickets. It's Nicely, Nicely and friends in Guys and Dolls with their wagers and high hopes, without the bowler hats and wingtips. Their shop windows boast odds and payouts and whatever other promises that if you bet with them you will hit pay dirt. You can walk right in and put your hard-earned or hardly earned, whichever the case may be, euro down on a horse, a football team, a cyclist, you name it. Gambling is big business here and in England just as it is at home with the exception of being readily accessible no matter where you are…not just in Vegas, on Indian reservations, or on boats floating in the Mississippi.

Paddy Power is a big one and you may laugh at the name, but believe it or not Paddy is a real person. He wears fancy suits with colorful ties and has a slick hairdo. His last name is indeed Power. He was destined to own a large chain of betting shops across the Republic and UK. Another ironically named betting outlet is Ladbrokes. I don't know if you actually pronounce it lad broke but I think you do. It's all in the name fellas… does what it says on the tin.

There are also gambling halls, called Amusements where the women usually go. You don't really see many women in the betting shops so fair's fair…they have the amusements. I think there are slot machines in there and definitely games tables. All I really know is there are at least two in this small town and if you look carefully on the ground as you pass them in the evening or early morning you're nearly guaranteed to find a bob or two. We found a 20 after dinner and I found a fiver the other morning on my jog. 25 euro in 2 weeks with no money down….now that's a payout.


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