Hurricane Gustav Draws Weather Betting OddsPublished August 31, 2008 by OCR Editor
One million Americans flee their homes as hurricane Gustav nears. Meanwhile, Las Vegas and online betting sites offer odds on the outcome.
Hurricane Gustav is a few days away from hitting the shores of Louisiana. One million residents of New Orleans, only three years since the deadly Hurricane Katrina struck the city in full force, have been evacuated already. They will not stick around to see whether Gustav grows into a Category 5 monster, as predicted.
But others will be watching closely. Odds makers are offering betting odds while Gustav advances over the Gulf of Mexico, and Mayor Ray Nagin gives orders to prepare for the devastation, telling residents in clear words: "Get out of town. This is not the one to play with."
Ironic? Cynical? Not really. Not if you comes to think about it.
Science and odds
The National Weather Service (NWS), National Hurricane Center, AccuWeather and others use advanced models and probability cones to project the most likely path of the eye. These are excellent data for placing your own bet at the end of the day.
The options bettors face are specific location where Gustav will hit, the Category with which it will strike, and even an option it will miss the US entirely. (Clearly a case of hopeful betting.)
With more and more bettors, hurricane forecasters can follow the trends and consider likely paths as predicted by the bettors.
Though weather betting is a form of novelty betting, listed under "special betting" on online gambling sites, this is no game. Dozens of casualties in Cuba make this point clear.
We are more familiar with bets on a "Wet Wimbledon" or other, not the extent of a guaranteed natural disaster.
We reach out to the residents of New Orleans, the gulf Coast and all areas already hurt by hurricane Gustav.