Last week I visited bookmakers William Hill in Rochdale to learn more about responsible gambling and place a small charity bet on the outcome of Euro 2016.
Meanwhile, in the world of politics, another European contest is taking place where the stakes are much higher but the gambling is anything but responsible.
With less than a week to go before the European Union referendum, the Vote Leave campaign are making increasingly fanciful claims about what life outside the EU could be like. But they have been less willing to talk about the very real risks associated with Brexit.
Make no mistake, job security, workers rights and funding for public services are all on the line on June 23rd and working class communities like Rochdale would be hit the hardest if the country votes to leave.
This is of little concern to Boris Johnson and Michael Gove who are more at home in the boardroom than on the shop floor.
It would not be Boris Johnson’s friends and neighbours in the queue at the job centre on June 24, it will be the manufacturers and shop staff in Rochdale. I doubt we would see Michael Gove visiting our town to explain to families why their weekly shop suddenly costs more or why they can no longer afford to go holiday.
They bemoan our loss of sovereignty to the “European technocrats” making UK laws overseas. But for the man and woman on the street, the corridors of power in Brussels are no more a foreign land than the Westminster bubble that Gove and Johnson inhabit. For all their fear mongering over immigration, I think Johnson and Gove would be far more out of place on the streets of our town than Polish plumbers or Portuguese nurses.
The Vote Leave team are comfortable rolling the dice over Brexit because they know they will be protected from the worst if it all goes wrong. Meanwhile voters in the traditional Labour heartlands in the North of England would suffer the harsh consequences.
Johnson and Gove want to take this huge risk because they are gambling with other people’s money. That’s why a vote to Remain is the only safe bet.