I need a scripted line for why I'm not betting.
June 17, 2013 3:35 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is celebrating his birthday at a horse track. I am going to go and have a good time, despite not having warm fuzzy feelings about the treatment of the horses. What can I use as an excuse for why I'm not betting, given that I am known for being a very enthusiastic gambler?

Ideally, I could get away with just drinking and enjoying the company, but there are going to be questions asked about why I'm not throwing down bets. What is a good stock response? I don't want to ruin anyone elses' good time, so little white lies and/or deferrals that avoid the whole animal rights/cruelty issue altogether are welcome.
posted by Fig to Human Relations (40 answers total)
I would just say I'm saving my coins for a big purchase right now, or something to that effect.
posted by Sophie1 at 3:37 PM on June 17, 2013

"Not feeling it today."
posted by chrillsicka at 3:40 PM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]

Fortune teller told you today would be a horrible day for you to gamble.
posted by Dansaman at 3:41 PM on June 17, 2013 [11 favorites]

"I don't want to."
posted by colin_l at 3:41 PM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

This person is your friend, so I'd like to think that you can basically tell him what you just told a bunch of strangers on the internet, and he'd understand.

Edit: ahh, didn't read the part after the break so well. Um, yeah, "not into it" is probably fine.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:41 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd go with "Feeling twitchy about my luck, man, it's just not coming together" or something vague like that.
posted by KathrynT at 3:45 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

My family owned racehorses for years and let me tell you, those ponies were treated better than me and my siblings. But I understand what you're saying...as an adult, I'm not a fan of racing as a sport and also choose to no longer go to the races.

But consider that once you're at the track for the party you'll be buying things to eat, drink etc., so you are giving money to the racetrack.

So in the same manner of thinking, why not throw $2 down on a race and leave it at that? Nobody will really notice how often you're heading up to the window, nobody's gonna notice how many tickets you have.

It might just be less awkward all around to spend $2, then nobody will ask you anything.
posted by kinetic at 3:46 PM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you are known as an avid gambler it won't be a tough sell to be superstitious when it comes to gambling. Just come up with some something that makes it inauspicious to gamble that day. Could be anything. It's free-form, go nuts.
posted by ambrosia at 3:47 PM on June 17, 2013 [7 favorites]

Equally, if you're known as an avid gambler, it may be plausible that you just recently lost big elsewhere.
posted by cribcage at 3:49 PM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

I already know who is going to win, that takes all the fun out of it.

I already talked to my bookie, I got better odds than you got.

posted by Brian Puccio at 3:49 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

What I usually tell people (about going to the casino, etc.) is something along the lines of "I lost a bunch of money gambling a while back and I lost the taste for it." If you say it with a light tone it isn't a downer, but sounds just ominous enough that most people won't press further. It also doesn't give people an opening to try to convince you.
posted by Mo' Money Moe Bandy at 3:51 PM on June 17, 2013

If you feel comfortable pulling off playful faux-earnestness, maybe something like smiling and saying "I like rooting for all the horsies."
posted by Flunkie at 3:52 PM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]

If your primary concern is to avoid drama I think dropping a couple of minimum bets will be the easiest way to avoid it.
posted by COD at 4:09 PM on June 17, 2013

How about: I'm cursed with inordinate good luck; since it's your birthday, instead of taking all that luck for myself, I want you, birthday person, to have my share of the luck. You're welcome.

Something like that.
posted by lulu68 at 4:17 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

"I promised Mr. Fig I'd not get swept up in anything tonight. We are saving up for a ___."
posted by ambrosia at 4:17 PM on June 17, 2013

In the same vein as some of the previous suggestions, maybe something like "I'm taking a break from gambling right now". If pressed, you can make suggestions about bad omens or your luck having turned without coming right out and saying a specific reason/lie.

Alternatively, if you're well-known for being an enthusiastic gambler but not specifically a horse racing bettor you can say something about how you're not going to bet until you're able to familiarize yourself with the wagers, research the horses and jockeys, and figure out all the angles.
posted by mhum at 4:19 PM on June 17, 2013

"Y'know, I love to gamble - you KNOW I do! - but I've realized that sometimes I get a little lost in my wager instead of just enjoying the company and the drinks and the whole experience. So, since it's your/his/her birthday, I figured I'd sit back, have a few drinks, and just have a really good time! WhooohooooO!!"
posted by VioletU at 4:27 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

If your partner will back you (and you have a partner) - something that could be believable is "I lost a bet with and have to... not gamble for a week." You could get more creative with this, obviously.
posted by Ashlyth at 4:36 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

"I have a bet with {friend not at the event} that I could make it through this entire party without betting on a single horse." At each insistence that you bet, laugh, say, "It's really tempting but I have bigger money on the other bet".
posted by sherlockt at 4:37 PM on June 17, 2013 [6 favorites]

Or. . .after post. . .basically what Ashlyth said.
posted by sherlockt at 4:38 PM on June 17, 2013

Just say, "I'm more about cards than horses." No one will say anything.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:49 PM on June 17, 2013 [7 favorites]

"The number three horse... look at that bastard. Big shifty eyes, his tail all wagging back and forth. That sonuvabitch knows something, I'm telling you. But I can't... tell... what. Is he going to throw the race? Did he convince the others to throw the race... Luck is one thing, but I never bet on a dishonest horse."
posted by Etrigan at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Horses are bad juju for me."
posted by PMdixon at 4:51 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just don't go. Attending still counts as supporting.


Since you're obviously still going, place some tiny bets and match your money with charitable giving.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:55 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't like the odds.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:10 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm taking the gamble that not betting on any of these horses is the right way to go.
posted by Admira at 5:27 PM on June 17, 2013

"I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm going to watch you guys to see how it's done." They drink forget about it, etc.
posted by starman at 5:34 PM on June 17, 2013

"My bookie gave me better odds."
posted by DarlingBri at 5:49 PM on June 17, 2013

With a pleasant smile: "I'm not betting today." Repeat as necessary. You don't owe an explanation for not betting any more than you'd owe one for not drinking. You do owe it to your friend to say it with a smile, though.
posted by Dolley at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2013

"I only gamble on stuff I can touch." Look longingly down at the track, "And I don't feel like getting arrested today."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:41 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

I somewhat understand the theory of odds and probabilities. I don't understand what makes horses go fast, or not.
posted by uncaken at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

"Not really a horses person, but am glad to be here with y'all."
posted by samthemander at 7:08 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

"You know I love a wager, man, but the ponies.... those ponies have never been good for me. So we came to an agreement - I stay way from the ponies, they put in a few words for me with the boxers. But I'll bet you: I bet you lose your shirt on these damn ponies!"
posted by marylynn at 7:10 PM on June 17, 2013

I think a few of these answers don't take into account what it's like to hang at the track for hours. You don't need an excuse for one race, like the horse doesn't look good or you don't like these odds. You need an excuse for not gambling all day long over the course of a few dozen races.

So it's gotta be a general lack of interest in betting that day, for whatever reason. It can't really be "I don't understand horse racing" because there are people who will take that as their invitation to initiate a novice, encourage you to walk with them to the bet window, bet for you, etc. Whatever excuse you choose, make sure you make it clear you're opting out and you're there to enjoy the day and company, not bet.
posted by Miko at 7:11 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

"I've tried it a few times before and I lost every single bet. As far as gambling curses go, it's a minor one, but trust me: I know better than to even try and tempt the gods today!"
posted by barnacles at 8:28 PM on June 17, 2013

Personally I'd just say "I don't want to bet today, I'm just here for the atmosphere and the company." If pressed, I might add "I really know nothing about it and I don't like betting in those circumstances." But really, people shouldn't push others about personal choices like this. It's like when people are not drinking. If a friend of mine, whom I know to be a drinker, tells me s/he's not drinking on a particular occasion I would probably casually ask, "Oh, why's that?", but I'd certainly take whatever answer they gave as the end of that particular topic. If people are pushing you to bet when you have clearly stated you don't want to you have every right to make it clear that the subject isn't negotiable.
posted by Decani at 8:49 PM on June 17, 2013

"What, and risk my drinkin' money?"

"I'm allergic to horses."

"Spent all last night at a blackjack table with a guy called Doc and a squinty octogenarian. That sort of experience doesn't leave you with much folding green."
posted by Jilder at 9:21 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I really like "Not feeling it today", which has a Miss Manners level of ambiguity about it, and rebuffs questioning.
posted by dhartung at 3:18 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

What about something along the lines of "It's not my game/ It's not my thing." Said with a shrug, nonchalantly, it doesn't come across as judgmental. Then change the subject.
posted by pompelmo at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2013

Thanks all - I didn't even consider the option of making a small bet or two, and there are some really good replies in here to have up my sleeve.
posted by Fig at 12:12 PM on June 18, 2013

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