Bet on hurricanes? You bet you can
Published: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Floridians are accustomed to the world tuning into their misery during hurricane season.
Now, some audience members are placing bets on the season's outcome.
Several gambling Web sites have started offering odds on the 2006 hurricane season, and people are betting on everything from how many storms will hit the United States to how strong they'll be when they make landfall.
Christopher Costigan, president of Gambling911.com, which offers gambling news, said interest in the feature has skyrocketed since the first gambling Web site offered hurricane betting about four weeks ago.
Costigan attributed part of the draw to the fact that "there's nothing much else to bet on right now." Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League don't draw many bets, Costigan said, leaving a dead zone that hurricane betting has filled handily.
Costigan also chalked up interest in hurricane betting to a general fascination with storms, which he said differs from a disregard for their danger.
"You can't say betting on how many storms are going to form in 2006 is morbid," Costigan said. "We're not talking about betting on damage or fatalities. Hurricanes fascinate us, and that's what this is about."
Mickey Richardson, CEO of BetCris.com, which offers odds and betting opportunities for everything from the amount "The Da Vinci Code" movie will net to the winner of "American Idol," said some residents of hurricane-prone areas have told him they used the odds on BetCris.com as a source of information.
"Our guys are good number-crunchers," Richardson said. "We had our numbers out two weeks before the official predictions, and we were dead-on."
Hurricane betting hasn't passed non-sporting gems like the 2004 presidential election or the recent "American Idol" selection when it comes to profit, Costigan said.
"We're waiting to see what happens when there are odds on specific storms, what category each storm will reach and that sort of thing," Costigan said. "It's going to be very interesting."
Amy Reinink can be reached at 352-374-5088 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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