Who is Betting on the Next Celebrity Death
Finding humor when talking about tasteless or taboo subjects is variously seen as comedic bravery, sinking to a self-degrading personal low, or cynically exploiting the circumstances of unhappy people to enrich oneself personally. Either, what some may secretly still think is publicly exposed, or it benefits in some way from individual misfortune that, it is argued, may have afflicted any of us. Such debates can usually be left to those who have the time. But it is important to know that so-called "celebrity death bets" are already with us, and therefore provoke exactly the kind of morbid challenge pun that is intended! Online casinos in Canada and elsewhere allow you to place bets on when certain celebrities will die, and the number of betting options available may be greater than you can imagine.
Who will die first?
The eighteenth-century "serious" gentleman investor's approach to benefiting from human mortality is "tontine": a group arrangement in which individuals equally pay into an investment loan and receive a small annual return on their investment. As years go by and Tontine members gradually die, the share of annual profits grows. After all, the last man standing owns the entire investment fund and all other investment profits made to that point.
If you are quick to prepare for the 20th and 21st centuries, knowing where to look, you will find "death pools": a way for everyone to mix pop culture, fantasy sports, and pure bad taste. The idea would be to select a dozen celebrities who were thought likely to die during a given year. A points system would ensure that it would not always be the oldest members of the selected group who were most likely to die - think of a wild teenage hellraiser or a crazy stuntman versus a frail but sober celebrity of advancing years. As scores accumulate over the course of the year due to the increasing number of fatalities, the pool winner would be the one with the highest score at the end of the year.
Celebrity death betting in the Internet age
In an age where trash and bad taste can be salable commodities, it is perhaps inevitable that some bookmakers may be tempted to set odds on which of the two royal figures they will die first. So don't be surprised if you come across a "death match" on the Mybookie page in which the probability of the first death between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip before 31 December 2019 is stated as Queen + 100 and Prince Phillip -140.
And this kind of "shock" tactic can be amplified if the two adversaries exhibit some sort of self-inflicted and preferably ultra-cadent personal deficiency, like the worst forms of drug addiction, to make measuring the morbidity factor tied to each other anything but easy. Sheen is six years younger, but Johnson, a former athlete, is taller and there are several lifestyle factors that are in balance, including drug addiction, alcoholism, mental stability and more.
A race to the gutter?
Who knows where this trend might go, if the commercial company willing to offer the worst in bad taste can perhaps make the biggest profit? But can you really bet in an online bet casino whether former public figures, now convicted sex offenders like Bill Cosby or Rolf Harris, will die in prison? Sure! With Cosby, for example, you get -450 that it will happen and + 250 that it won't.
And if you really have the stomach for it, you can also bet on group death pools containing characters connected by a common thread. 'Alleged sexual deviants' anyone? Yes, you can get real online odds on who will die first: Subway Jared + 1000, Harvey Weinstein + 800, Jerry Sandusky + 600, Roman Polanski + 250, Bill Cosby + 100 and Jerry Lee Lewis + 150.
All of this begs the question of what bad taste really is. And, while we may be pretty sure about that, this kind of bet is not as far from betting, say, on martial arts, as we might think. And, perhaps, at the end of the day, it's as much about taking responsibility for deciding one's own personal boundaries as relying on some kind of common public morality to get the job done for you.