Humans are a strange species. For one, we are the only mammals in the world drinking the milk of another species – and not only other mammals but plants, too (forgive the pun).
The best thing about being the weirdest species on this planet, though, is that we have no other similar species to compare ourselves to – all others are below our level of intelligence and civilization (or at least that’s what we think).
And, at least as far as we know, we are the only species that gambles – risking something we already have for an often slim chance of having more. Betting on different things is normal today, especially in the age of online bets and smartphones – but people usually limit their wagers to the outcome of sporting events, especially those that are on the top of the popularity list – football, rugby, cricket, and various contact sports.
Except when they don’t.
Sometimes, people bet on things that makes fellow humans raise at least one eyebrow (maybe even both).
Believing that their kids are special is normal for every parent out there – but actually placing bets (with money, at bookmakers) on the same is a tad unusual. Yet it’s not unheard of – the specialty press speaks of several football players, for example, with families so confident that they actually bet on their success. Leeds United’s midfielder Lewis Cook, for example, made his granddad a rich(er) man (by GBP 17,000 or over R300,000, to be exact) by playing his first international match before he turned 21 – old man Cook placed his bet in 2014 at odds of 33 to 1.
Welsh footballer Harry Wilson made an even bigger dream come true: his grandfather placed a bet on his football success back when he was just 18 months old. 50 quid with odds of 2500 to one have turned into GBP 125,000 (or almost R2.5 million) before he turned 17.
But the most amazing bets have still been placed on politics – modern-day politics, that is, and things that have made it into the mainstream media.
A man, for example, placed a bet on Scotland staying with the United Kingdom before the 2014 referendum. And he was so sure of his prediction being the correct one that he was willing to risk GBP 900,000 (more than R17 million) on it, at odds of 5 to 2. His actual winnings were just GBP 200,000 on this bet but he won, nevertheless.
An old lady in the US was not this lucky – she bet all her life savings (almost R10 million) on Hillary Clinton winning the US elections in 2016, and lost. Hotel Owner John Mappin was, in turn, more than convinced that Donald Trump would win the elections – his winnings worth GBP 100,000 (almost R2 million) stand witness to his prediction skills.
People are strange. Funny, but strange – especially when it comes to betting.