Degree of risk

blog oct

When I was growing up most parents’ idea of gambling on their kids’ future was letting them go to drama school. Now you really can bet on their future by putting money on what grade of degree you think they’ll get. It all started when one enterprising father wondered whether he could recoup some of the money he spent putting his daughter through university by gambling on her results. He managed to persuade a bookmaker to accept a bet on her getting a first in her veterinary science degree.

Inspired by his chutzpah, Ladbrokes have decided to extend this idea and have opened a proper book on degree results. So far the maximum stake is £10 and it’s restricted to parents and grandparents. They have created a special formula that calculates the odds of a student getting a particular class of degree by taking into account what their A levels were, what degree they are studying and which university they attend. So far it’s only on trial involving 20 universities and the highest possible outside chance win is £1,000. To prevent enterprising maths students from cooking the books students are not allowed to bet on their own futures. (How long would it be before some swotty second-year statistician at Imperial started flogging crib sheets to sixth formers advising them to bung all their student loan on to an outside chance of them getting a first and watching them clean up?)

Well I love a flutter, so I’m in. As far as I can figure Ella, who is almost half way through her degree at Manchester, is worth taking a punt on, so I’m going to put a tenner on her. And no phaffing around with a fiver each way – it’s a straight tenner on the nose to get a first.

After all, these things run in the family. Doughnut’s racing days may be behind him, but he didn’t get where he is today (dozing off a sausage supper) without people gambling on his future. Now whether it was the knowledge that hundreds of punters at the dog track had put a fiver on him to win or whether he knew that there’d be another sausage for him if he came in first I don’t know, but something inspired him to become the bookies’ favourite, racing under his professional name of Connoisseur – he’s the speedy fellow to the right of the newspaper cutting above.

And if it’s good enough for Doughnut, as I have said many times when dishing up a million ways with mince, it’s good enough for the kids.

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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