These days, opportunities for gambling are more widespread than ever and many pensioners enjoy a flutter and the consequent pleasure and thrill it engenders.
Horse racing is by far the most enjoyable form of gambling, not least because there are so many people to blame when your selection refuses to start, falls at the first or is brought down by a suffragette. Attending a race meeting has considerable benefits too, including rubbing shoulders with wealthy Arabs, strengthening your fingers through the ripping up of betting slips and getting your only decent pair of shoes covered in horse-pats,
Following racing in a betting shop is less enjoyable, but does allow you to sample some of the worst coffee in the world and mix with people you’d normally only meet during a burglary.
In order to be successful, there are several pointers you should always look out for. Horses with three legs or those you’ve previously seen pulling a brewer’s dray are unlikely to win at distances of less than seven furlongs. Jockeys carrying several whips and a heavy cudgel are worth following, as are female jockeys with moustaches. Chasers and hurdlers that trip over a sweet wrapper in the parade ring should be avoided, as should trainers who have to borrow a pair of binoculars, smile too much or are being pursued by large men with sawn-off shotguns.
Though once enormously popular, greyhound racing has virtually died out since myxamotosis decimated the mechanical hare population, and the only functioning tracks are now almost exclusively operated by the Duke of Edinburgh, Guidedogs for the Blind and the beneficiaries of the Barbara Woodhouse estate.
Gambling on sports is problematic, especially cricket matches involving Pakistani bowlers, while novelty events such as snail racing or naming the new baby in Emmerdale are both prone to fixing by unscrupulous far-eastern criminal gangs.
Contrary to popular belief, sheep do not gamble.