Even after the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a very bizarre and popular form of gambling began to pop up in Vegas and on the internet: hurricane betting. Those who enjoy throwing their money away can place bets on where hurricanes will hit, whether or not tropical storms will become hurricanes, what category they will become, and what wind speeds they will reach. This form of wagering is more than a little controversial, considering the fact that so many lives are lost in these storms, and it raises the question: how far will Vegas and these gambling sites go to bring in more money?But regardless of how controversial its legitimacy is in the gambling world, novelty betting has really taken off over the years, with casinos offering all sorts of wacky wagers on everything from the outcome of the presidential election to who will win Oscars in any given category. As fun and harmless as betting like this may seem, it does little more than to empty the pocketbooks of those who already compulsive gamblers and really don’t need any more options when it comes to how they can throw their money away.
Hurricane betting is a lot worse than these other forms of novelty wagers, since loss of life is involved. It’s hard to imagine being thrilled with winning a wager on the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike, for example, but plenty people out there are. I guess at least it’s a good thing that no gambling site (that I’m aware of) has gone so far as to place wagers on how many lives are lost in these storms, and I suppose it’s no worse than horse racing or greyhound racing; hundreds of these animals die each year competing in these sports that simply exist for the purpose of gambling, and their loss of life receives no pity from human bettors.
I can already foresee a novelty wager in the future on whether or not and when John McCain dies while in office, and bettors are already holding their breaths and watching the weather for the next big, deadly storm. It is truly amazing what humans can come up with to entertain themselves.
I’m not going to bet on it, but for some reason, I just have a feeling that this year Omar is going to be big (I sincerely hope I’m wrong about this.) But if you’re willing to wager on it…