The Weirdest Online Wagers
By Alex J. Coyne © 2018 Great Bridge Links
If we know one thing about gambling for sure, we know that people will bet on almost anything. One of the most famous open wagers was offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), and bet a full million dollars for anyone who could prove the existence of psychic or paranormal phenomenon.
For the record, the wager was finally ended in 2016 – disappointingly unclaimed before we got to see telekinesis or ghosts. Here are some more of the weirdest online wagers that we could find.
Betting on Alien Life
According to a September 2015 press release by UK betting operator William Hill, bets were opened on the odds of mankind discovering alien life.
Several things have affected the odds over the years, including announcements from NASA (Derry Journal, December 2017) and the fact that microbes found in space might arguably classify as alien life.
Dead Pool Betting
If you’ve ever wondered where the Deadpool character gets his name, it’s from the concept of a dead pool, also sometimes referred to as a ‘death pool’. It’s the particularly tasteless practice where online bookmakers open up bets on the imminent death of a celebrity – and there have been literally hundreds of different death pool bets through the years.
BettingOnline offers a list of bookmakers that have (or do) accept death pool bets, though you can also apparently bet on fictional deaths through some betting sites – like the odds on who would die first on the eighth season of Game of Thrones.
The Next James Bond
While in much less bad taste than the previous bets, this one is certainly weird: it’s popular for online betting sites to offer bets on entertainment news, like who will be chosen to play the next incarnation of James Bond.
According to OddsChecker.com, the contenders are Richard Madden (5/4); Tom Hiddleston (11/4); Tom Hardy (6/1); Idris Elba (7/1) and “Any female” (12/1).
They also have a special section for betting on almost anything to do with the Royal family, with the recent Royal wedding opening up plenty of potential for bets – including who would be wearing who.
Reality television is popular enough, so why not bet on that? It’s unpredictable, and it leaves a lot of room for chance. The Bachelor Australia is a betting topic through Australian betting site SportsBet, who ironically had to refund a lot of clients after the show was thrown a curveball.
There are also some bad-taste bets, such as the odds that Pink would have to cancel her Australian tour after illness, according to this news report.
The Next Pope
A 2004 article from the Telegraph reveals that the Catholic church had become extremely unhappy with betting operators (including Paddy Power and BetFair) when they offered bets on who would become the next pope. Again, it seems to be an event that leaves a lot of room for speculation – and bets.
The same article also notes that William Hill was amongst the betting operators who declined to take bets on this particular subject. Everyone’s got that line they won’t cross!