Culture

How Desperate Are Gamblers with No Sports to Bet On? This Desperate.

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March Madness. Spring Training. Opening Day. The NBA. NASCAR. UFC. Golf. All gone. Sports fans face a desolate viewing and betting landscape as social distancing causes sports leagues across the globe to shut everything down. Coronavirus has had a significant effect on every aspect of our lives. Not only has sports programming ground to a halt on both radio and tv, but casinos have felt a huge hit as well. Many have shut their doors altogether, meaning no table-game revenue and no sports-book revenue. Gamblers just have nothing to bet on.

So what can a poor gambler do to stay entertained? How bout betting on the weather?

On Monday, the offshore betting outfit Bovada opened up several options to bet on, including the day’s highest wind gust, who will be the next contestant evicted on Big Brother, and the over/under on the temperature in major U.S. cities, among many others. The New York Post reports:

“We’re trying to cope with the loss of sports,” Pat Morrow, the head odds maker for sportsbook company Bovada, told The Post Tuesday.

“You’re probably talking about an individual loss of freedom, people are going to start feeling a little cooped up more sooner than later and if we can just have those little breaks, whether it’s betting on something silly … we’re all just trying to find different outlets to forget what’s happening.”

On Monday, Bovada opened up wagers on the weather and players can now bet on what the maximum temperatures will be in cities like Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Gamblers can also bet on the expected rainfall and on popular TV shows like American Idol and Westworld.

Morrow told The Post that they’ve lost about 95% of their normal betting volume. Desperate times call for desperate measures, both for the company and for individual bettors. He said,

“We’re allowing ourselves an opportunity … to not take ourselves too seriously, to try and inject some levity in there, we’re trying to put some stuff out there that’ll be a little fun,” Morrow explained.

“Just for our own sanity and mental health, it’s great we have that opportunity to do that and hopefully for a lot of players we can provide an outlet.”

Among the options are a few dozen entertainment bets, a dozen related to the presidential election, and obscure sports still operating, like Ukrainian table tennis and volleyball in Turkey.

As John Lennon sang, whatever gets you through the night is alright.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.