I and pretty much anyone else who’s ever seriously studied gambling have often said that people will bet on anything. Some proof to support that contention? I offer into evidence the $1.2 billion Indians reportedly bet on monsoons each year. From Online Casino Advisory:
Itinerant traders spread the tradition of monsoon betting in the 1800s; British authorities banned the practice in 1890. The ban worked as well as most prohibition, which is to say, not at all.
Bookies allow monsoon gambling among established clientele to prevent detection by law enforcement. Yet, even with this restriction on play, it is estimated that over $1.2 billion is wagered each year on the monsoon.
Asked the attraction on gambling on the weather, one player pointed out that there is no danger of a fix. Sports gamblers familiar with recent NBA news understand this observation well.
This year the monsoon came earlier than anytime in over a hundred years, raking in profits for bookies. Still, there was a silver lining to all concerned: the early rain signals a bountiful harvest, after a period of poor crop growth. Food supplies both locally and internationally will be positively effected.
I’ll disagree with the contention that “there’s no danger of a fix.” If it’s gambling, there’s a way to rig it. You could, for example, fudge the results from the weather station. You could also take bets and not pay out the winners.
My headline is a riff on Monsoon Wedding, which seemed to be better than trying to invent a pun with monsoon and gambling.
Also, my apologies on inflicting this obviously-not-AP-style prose on you. The kernel of the story is interesting, but the way it’s written is, like something you’ve left in the fridge a week too long, a little off. Is it the over-use of the passive tense? The absence of any quote or any attribution for the information? The fact that only the top third of the jpg loads? It’s all of these, and more.
Since I’m teaching non-fiction writing this summer, I’m attuned to these kinds of deficiencies. Seriously, if any of my students read this, this article is a perfect illustration of what not to do.
I’ve got a philosophical quibble, too. The closing line of the article says that we must remember that gambling is an ancient tradition. I’m assuming, from the context, that the author is a gambling advocate and is using this fact–tradition–to bolster his argument that gambling is good.
I don’t think that tradition by itself is a justification for anything. Lots of things have a long tradition: slavery, misogyny, tribal warfare, wine in a box. That doesn’t necessarily make them something to strive for.
Gambling’s long history isn’t a reason to embrace it. Rather, it’s an illustration of the enduring appeal that it has. Because gambling is popular, it has been around for a long time–not vice versa.