Betting on everything!

Looking for numbers on Superbowl betting volume, I found this story from Australia about people betting on the State of the Union address. From the Daily Telegraph:

ENGLISH speaking people use the word “bet” very often, even if they aren’t betting.

Yesterday, I heard someone on the train say “you bet” when asked whether they hated Heath Ledger. And they were nowhere near a TAB.

Language goes to intent. Sub-consciously, people really want to bet on anything they can.

It’s an affliction of the human condition.

That’s why governments allow people to punt on everything – almost.

In 2003, the US State Department tried to open a book on when the next terrorist attack would be, thinking it would lure terrorists into betting on their own attacks.

Terrorists were to be seduced by the irony.

The trick was not to lay on too heavily because it would tip off the Pentagon. They hadn’t thought about hedging.

Obviously, it never happened.

However, you can still wager on Earth being struck by a cataclysmic meteorite, which the bookies love because they know they will never have to pay out on the result if someone picks it.

The latest craze is gambling on US President George Bush’s State of the Union address, which falls midway between Christmas and the Superbowl – another great betting event.

This is expected to be on January 31.

The online betting agency claims it has already recorded its highest ever volume in political action in five years.

They are offering odds on how many standing ovations he will get.

Considering only Republicans attend, the number willbe high, regardless of what Bush says.

The 8/1 odds on 70 or more standing ovations represents good value. At the other end of the scale, they are offering 5/1 on 15 or fewer.

Most of the money is going on how many times Bush uses the words “evil”, “Iraq” and “Patriot Act”.

Around 90per cent of the action is on the President saying “Iraq” 16 times or more, which is priced at 7/2.

The smart money says he will use the word “evil” twice (2/1) and Patriot Act six to nine times (3/2).

The Daily Telegraph | All bets off over space terrorism

The last thing I would do would be to make light of terrorism, but there is something funny about how “the US State Department tried to open a book on when the next terrorist attack would be.” I picture the usual touts going to all kinds of foreign policy forums and geo-political analyses and learnedly discoursing on obscure rebel groups from around the world.

By the way, here’s the lowdown on Superbowl betting from the Business Press:

The 40th anniversary of the National Football League’s big game produced a record amount of wagering in Nevada sportsbooks, according to figures released by the Gaming Control Board. The Steelers-Seahawks clash was the subject of $94.5 million in bets.

The amount is nearly $4 million more than was wagered last year but is big drop off from some earlier years when close games or upsets have resulted in gamblers leaving a much larger percentage of their money on the table.

This year the sportsbook kept $8.8 million, or 9.3 percent, of the money gambled on the big game. Last year’s field goal cliffhanger left sportsbooks much better off when they kept 17 percent of the $90 million bet on the Patriots-Eagles game.
The lowest take recorded in recent years was 0.6 percent retained by sportsbooks when the Broncos beat the Packers in 1998.

Superbowl wager sets new record

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