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On sites like BetFair, the biggest gambling exchange in the world and a site that also includes an arcade, casino, sports book and poker room, you really can gamble on everything. That doesn’t just include the many slot machines, blackjack games, poker tournaments, bingo games and more that you can find on the many sections mentioned above. One of the most popular ways to gamble in the modern age, and one that is only increasing in popularity, is betting on current affairs.
This is as popular in Canada at it is in the rest of the world, and as with the Super Bowl, the World Cup and other International events, there have been current issue events that have also transcended nations. For instance, fans of the British Royal family, of which there are many on these shores, were able to bet on what name the first child of William and Kate would be, shortly after it was announced that she was pregnant and several months before they officially called their baby George.
The beauty of these sort of bets is that they appeal both to the non-sports fans and to the sports fans. If you watch a lot of The X Factor for instance, and you think you know who will win, then check the markets, because you might just find that there is a huge price next to your tip. Like bets on obscure sports (come on, we’ve all been there) they also add some excitement to otherwise dull events, such as politics.
You can even make the elections something worth paying attention to, and the elections don’t even have to be in your own country. You can also bet on many stages of an election. Taking the US campaigns as an example, there are bets on who will lead the Democrats and Republicans, who will win certain swing states and how much their overall share of the votes will be.
Betting on current affairs is also very easy, as there are usually just one or two outright markets. There are no spreads, handicaps or anything of the sort, and the job of the punter is to pick who will win. The bookmakers do their best to ensure these markets are simple because they know that the majority of the people that use them are not gamblers, and therefore have very little experience of sports books and betting exchanges.
There are downsides to everything, but the downsides to these markets lie with those taking the bets, and no one but their chairmen and their stockholders care about them. In the case of William and Kate’s baby, there was one amusing story to come out several weeks after the markets opened. It began when a well-dressed, well-spoken man walked into a rundown betting shop in the United Kingdom. He looked as out of place as it was possible to be and he wanted to place a substantial bet, in cash, on what the name of the baby would be. The betting shop noticed something was a miss about this man and refused to take his bet, which turned out to be a winner. Coincidence? Probably not.
When bookmakers open markets on current affairs they leave themselves open to incidences like this. They are basically creating markets on something that a select number of people can exploit. If William was short of a few bucks, he could have looked at the markets, found a name with huge odds, placed his bet and then announced the name of his son. True, he might have ended up with a name like Mary the Destroyer as opposed to George, but that’s what nicknames are for.
There are also markets created around shows that are not live, shows where the winner has already been decided and is merely being kept from the public. Not to mention markets that open on who the next presenter of a show will be, who will be the star of the next film or book. These are bets that many people can not only place and cash-in on instantly, but ones that they can manipulate. Not all of them are royals or millionaires, and in some cases such opportunity is given to those who don’t make a huge amount of money and those who will look at this as a great opportunity. Hell, we know we would.
As we said though, the only people that stand to lose in such cases are the sports books, and no one cares about them. So here’s to the next royal baby, and if he/she ends up being named after a Game or Thrones character or a brand of beer, then you know that either Wills and Kate have lost their marbles, or they’re putting together a very healthy trust fund for George and Budweiser.
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