Fri, Jun 21, 7:30am by Kevin Pitstock
The latest betting option in online gambling is the housing auction wager. A leading Australian online bookmaker, Sportsbet.com.au, is setting odds on the highest auction clearance rates among Australian cities.
Leading cities and regions are covered in the odds. Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and even Tasmania are betting options for those who want to test their predictive abilities on the Australian housing market. A Sportsbet spokesmen said this is the first foray of the bookmaker into property auctions.
Punters can bet on whether cities will report an auction clearance rate more than 65% or less than 65% on the weekend. Odds are set on the relative chances various cities like Melbourne or Sydney have on the over/under proposition.
Another possible wager allows people to bet on which city or state has the highest auction clearance rate of the weekend. The bookmaker sets odds for each participant, giving bettors a wide range of punting options.
Sydney had the highest auction clearance rate last weekend, so it’s the current favourite with $1.75 odds in this week’s betting. Melbourne is second with odds set at $2.20, while Canberra is next with $7.00 odds. All other options are in the double-digits, with Tasmania as the underdog at $21.00. Last weekend, Tasmania only cleared 14.3% of its properties, so one would have to be an optimist to see the Tasmanians emerging with the best rate this coming time.
Some view bets on the housing market as a sign of the crassness of the betting culture. The Australian newspaper had an article which discussed the generational dream of Australians who want to own their own home, and how online bookmakers have crossed some kind of new line with these prop bets. That’s a somewhat parochial attitude.
The history of gambling is full of interesting proposition wagers. In the American Civil War, Union soldiers were known to gamble on which lice would crawl across a skillet. One louse kept winning, until the soldiers discovered that its “owner” was slightly heating his louse’s section of the pan, causing it to move a bit faster.
What that says about gambling cheats, we don’t know, but the point is: people will bet on anything. Internet bookmakers are not alone in finding odd things to gamble on.
This isn’t the first instance of an online website offering bets on financials. Since 2008, Centrebet.com accepts wagers on changes to the official cash rate. Each month, when the Treasury announces the monthly interest rate on the Australian dollar, betting money changes hands. Just a couple of months ago, American billionaire George Soros pocketed $18 million betting on the Australian dollar.
Financial news and betting go hand-in-hand. Take one look at the Foreign Exchange or Forex betting sites which exist. These are even listed on authority gambling sites which make comprehensive lists of other gaming websites.
Punting on the housing market seems absolutely commonplace when compared to many of the proposition bets offered by UK casinos, which are known to offer odds on whether a UFO touches down on Earth or whether a meteor is going to crash into the planet–though how someone collects on that bet, we couldn’t say.
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