Will Hillary win her bid for Senator in New York?
Who will be the last Survivor on the popular CBS television show?
Which movie will be the top grosser this weekend?
These are among some of the latest bets that can be placed at numerous on-line sportsbooks. The industry is no longer the Mecca for just football, soccer and other sports betting.
Established Web sites, such as 18-year-old Intertops, are taking bets on who will be the next U.S. President, where the stock market will close each day and several other non-sporting categories.
The rationale appears to be that anything that can be bet, should be offered to be bet.
Soon, sites could offer betters odds on what type of major natural disaster will occur next in the world.
Earthquake has the best odds, followed by mudslide, volcano eruption and typhoon. Pick the continent, earn more. Correctly guess the number of deaths, that $5 bet could grow to thousands.
With the vast array of information available on the Internet, the bets could even be localized.
Will it rain today in Maysville, Kentucky? Will Billy Bob of uniquecasino.fr Whosville, Mississippi be found guilty today in his jury trial for growing marijuana? What will the rate of unemployment be for the month of August in New York City?
Perhaps these are extreme examples, but the possibilities really are endless in what types of wagers sportsbooks could offer betters.
Is that good or bad for the industry?
The sportsbook industry has come a long way in shedding its shady image of Big Bubba beating up betters with his baseball bat for not paying up on losing bets.
Expanding the realm of online sportsbook betting to accepting wagers on political races, Academy awards, the outcome of television shows is a step back to that publicly perceived seedy image.
While there is nothing wrong with wagering on whatever event one so chooses, these types of wagers do not belong at online sportsbooks.
Most sportsbook betters thrive in the research and studying that is involved before placing a bet on a sporting event. It has become a skill to understand and investigate the meaning behind the odds and the likelihood that a given team, horse or player will win.
To offer pure-chance bets, such as selecting the last Survivor, is an insult to the sportsbook industry. It could perpetuate an image that sportsbook betters are out-of-control gamblers who have to bet on anything and everything to make a fast buck.
That the online sportsbooks offer these types of wagers feeds into that image. They are inadvertently hindering the perception that people should have about sportsbetting: That it requires skill and hours of research.
That is definitely fast becoming a step back for the industry.