The World’s Strangest Novelty Bets
We’ve already had a look at some of the weirdest bets ever placed – now let’s take it one step further and look at novelty bets too. As the name suggests, novelty bets aren’t your usual casino, poker or sporting bets – instead they’re strange one-off bets that anyone can take, but that no one really expects to win. Or do they? We’ve rounded up a selection of the strangest novelty bets either taken, or still open for wagers – which, if any, would you put your money on?
Ok so it’s not a bet that anyone’s won (yet), but it’s a question that gets asked year after year. Does alien life actually exist? One of the most unusual bets at Paddy Power, this one has odds of 7/1 that the President of the United States will declare after 2020 that extra-terrestrials do exist. Of course some would argue that they do, and are actually in government right now, but that’s neither here nor there. If you believe in Roswell and UFOs and little green men, this might be the bet for you!
Less of an actual novelty bet and more of a ‘what the actual??’ this is an all-in bet that went all the way to winning – believe it or not. In 2004, 32-year-old Ashley Revell from Kent in England made the somewhat bizarre decision to sell everything he owned and take the earnings with him to Vegas. Once there, he proceeded to place $136 000 (everything he had in the world) on red during a game of Roulette. It’s at this point in the movie of his life that we’d close our eyes and cringe at the huge loss and heartbreak we KNOW is coming. However, the joke would be on us – because rather than losing the shirt on his back, Ashley landed an insane win, doubling his money in a single spin!
It’s not the first time this has happened either. In 1994, another Englishman sold his home for £147 000, took the money to Vegas, and gambled it all on red. Did he win? You bet your bottom dollar he did! If you’ll excuse us, we’re just going to sell our car quickly and hop on a plane to Vegas…
Current affairs king
If you’ve seen Back to the Future Part II, you’ll remember the scene where Marty McFly goes forward in time to the year 2015 and purchases an old sports almanac, with the intention of using it to place sports bets in his own time of 1985 and make a fortune. You can hardly blame him, can you?
Well, in 1989, one man in Wales had people scratching their heads, wondering if someone had actually managed to replicate Marty’s idea. Because only a time traveller could have won this specific novelty bet. Right?
Let’s set the scene. A man walks into a bookie’s and places an accumulator bet. Not surprising in and of itself – however what he bet on certainly was. That’s because rather than betting on horses or football, this man bet on five specific things: that Cliff Richard would be made a knight before the year 2000, that the band U2 would still be together in the new millennium, and that the soapies EastEnders, Home and Away, and Neighbours would all still be screened by the BBC until at least the year 2000. He placed a bet of £30, was given odds of 6 479/1, and promptly left. He did come back though, but only 11 years later – and since it’s now 2019, you already know (spoiler alert) that every single bet he placed came absolutely 100% true. On an initial bet of £30, his accumulator paid out a whopping £194 400 – making it the largest novelty bet payout ever! Who knew betting on soap operas could be so lucrative? And also, we’re just off to Wales to go search for a time machine…
Is the Pope Catholic?
Haha obviously he is, you can’t bet on that. But what you can bet on is who the next Pope will be! Right now the current head of the Roman Catholic church is Pope Francis, but at the age of 82, there’s no telling how long he’ll continue to hold that position. So who will step into his shoes next?
To date there’s no clear frontrunner for the position, but you can still place your bets on cardinals (or other people) that you think might step into the role. And if you’re not sure, then don’t worry – operators like William Hill and Paddy Power have a few choice options for you. First there’s Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines, who, at odds of 6/1 is clearly a favourite. Then there’s Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith from Sri Lanka, who seems more of an outside bet at 50/1.
So far, so normal. But then there are some contenders who are just completely bonkers (and completely unlikely to be selected by the College of Cardinals as well). We’re looking at you here Bono, coming in at 500/1. And atheist Richard Dawkins, with surprisingly better odds of 375/1. We don’t know how the figures were calculated, but what we do know is that you’re better off putting your money on an actual cardinal if you want any chance of winning. We wouldn’t recommend praying for a win though – that’s not really how that works…
You can leave your hat on
Finally (and perhaps most frivolously) you can bet on the colour of the Queen’s hat. Fancy that! That’s right – every year Her Royal Highness wears a fabulous hat to Royal Ascot, and betting on it has become just as much of a tradition as betting on the actual races themselves. In fact, bets on Queen Elizabeth II’s headwear have been placed as far back as 1973, so it’s all part of the tradition of Ascot. If you think you have a flair for royal fashion, and you have the means to visit Ascot, it’s probably one of the more fun bets you can place – so get your glad rags on and go for a flutter!
Happy Spinning 🙂