Most people who like to bet online will stick to sports they know and love. Many don’t even realize that gambling sites cover novelty and entertainment markets including your favorite celebrity events and reality television shows.
While this was certainly true in years gone by, these days you can place a bet on almost any event including political elections, reality shows, movie box office numbers, and popular award shows are common place at online bookmakers. Most novelty betting sites will cover all kinds of markets, such as politics, awards ceremonies, which celebrities will get married next or even on the weather.
Best Novelty Betting Sites
The above websites are the best places for betting real money on novelty events and politics. If you visit one of the above sites, you can find the novelty betting area located within the sports betting section and categorized as “specials” or “entertainment.”
Novelty bets change frequently, so you’ll find different bets available depending on when you visit. Sometimes you’ll have bets on whichever TV show is popular right now and other times you’ll have novelty bets related to upcoming elections or whatever else is in the news at the time.
What Kind of Specialty Bets Are There?
With the wide range of options offered by entertainment betting websites instead of just sports, the demographic of customers has shifted. Traditionally considered the domain of mostly male sports fans, many different people now enjoy placing bets on all kinds of outcomes and situations.
Reality TV and Entertainment
One of the most popular entertainment markets has proved to be reality TV shows. There has been an explosion in the number of reality television shows in recent years with programs such as Big Brother, The X Factor, Pop Idol and The Apprentice to name just a few.
These shows attract large audiences and most people watching will always have their own views on who is going to win or be kicked out next. Fans of these shows can now put their prediction skills to the test and back their judgment with real money predictions.
Awards Shows, Competitions, and Celebrity Predictions
Television and music award ceremonies, such as the Oscars or the MTV Awards, and even beauty pageants also attract a decent amount of action.
The range of bets available is truly phenomenal, you can even bet on Nathans hot dog eating contest. Most Novelty sites will open markets on just about anything that is even vaguely newsworthy. For example, if a celebrity is pregnant there will be odds available on whether the baby is a boy or a girl, what the name will be, or what day it is born.
X-Factor Betting Sites
Yes, you can even bet on the X-Factor now. The most basic bet on The X Factor is a simple wager on which contestant will win the overall competition. Many online betting sites slowly expand markets as the season progresses, and the betting really starts to heat up during the later stages.
The odds on the contestants change throughout the competition based on their performances and voting results. Although there is often a clear favourite throughout the whole show, sometimes the favourite will change from week to week.
Another common bet on The X Factor is from which category the winner will come from. The contestants in The X Factor are divided into four categories – the boys, the girls, the groups and the over 25s – and all the contestants in each category are allocated to one of the four judges. Rather than betting on a specific contestant to win the competition, you can widen your options a bit by betting on the winning category instead.
Strictly Come Dancing Betting
Just like the X-Factor, novelty acts never win Strictly Come Dancing although, for entertainment value, one engaging celebrity always mysteriously lingers far longer than their talent should allow.
But, such is the viewing demographic, Strictly Come Dancing’s betting turnover is far less than its Saturday/Sunday night live TV counterpart (X-Factor) and this is reflected in just a few betting markets being on offer.
Celebrity Special Betting
But, the gold standard in light entertainment is I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. This car-crash TV show which has been licensed to numerous countries is the best betting medium of all the celebrity TV shows. In the UK alone, it averages a viewership in excess of 10 million people.
Lasting a little over three weeks and featuring 12 contestants, all bookmakers clamber over themselves to be the first to offer prices on contestants and earn some related press coverage.
Politics and Elections
Politics also attracts a lot of interest, specifically around election time. Presidential elections in the US and parliament elections in the UK are prime targets for political wagers. Wagers on which parties will gain or lose the most influence are also popular.
UK-focused bookmakers frequently host royal family wagers. These bets range the whole gamut from the gender of the next royal baby to how long it will be until Prince Harry finally gets married. Other wagering options include the likes of next year’s interest rates or the outcomes of major court cases and policy debates.
Anything in the realm of politics that makes the newspaper headlines is probably deemed bet worthy by at least one sports betting site. Just visit the bookmaker of your choice and look for the “politics” category to see what that site has open for betting right now.
Something worth keeping in mind is that political bets usually take a long time to resolve. It’s not uncommon to see futures offered up to a year in advance of the actual event happening. In some cases, you don’t even know when the bet will close (for example, a bet on when someone will get married). Take care not to wrap up too much of your bankroll into long term bets.
*New – Political Betting Sites – learn about how to bet on politics.
Weather and Forecast Predictions
Some sites even accept wagers on weather predictions. One fairly common bet is whether there will be a white Christmas.
Weather betting is interesting because it ties closely into certain types of investing. The stock market has its own style of weather “props” that are used as hedges. Farmers are known for “betting” significant amounts of money on an extraordinarily dry season to hedge against the risk of their crops going bad.
You can do something similar with betting sites that allow weather betting. If your business depends on sunny weather, for example, you could place fairly large wagers on the annual rainfall total. In doing so, you would offset some of the loss of business that would occur during an uncommonly wet summer.
Of course, you can always just bet on the weather for fun. Are you convinced this summer will be a real cooker? Go bet on the weather. Are you sick of cold winters? Well, might as well place a bet on it being a cold winter so that if you do have to suffer, you can at least make a little money.
*New – Weather Betting Sites – learn about how to bet on the weather.
Professional Video Games
Professional video game competitions are growing in both size and scope thanks to the efforts of organizations such as Major League Gaming (the MLG). Some betting sites are just now beginning to host wagers on who will win major events in this arena.
DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2) is one of the largest. A major betting site recently hosted bets on which team would win the title alongside wagers on individual team-vs-team matchups. We can expect to see more of this as professional gaming picks up steam in the Western world.
Death pools are quite morbid and stir up controversy, which is exactly what makes them alluring for certain types of sites. You don’t see death pools as often these days thanks to the outrage they caused in the past. News coverage got so negative that some advertising commissions stepped in and shut them down in regulated markets.
A typical death pool might have a list of celebrities who are very old, dealing with various health issues or have known drug problems. The participants can then place their bets on who they think will die first. If you make the right pick, you get paid.
These days, you won’t find death pools at mainstream betting sites. Today’s death pools are most often played among friends or hosted by niche websites (Cash4Cadavers.com being one example) that specialize in death. This just isn’t the kind of thing that licensed betting sites with investors and brand images are willing to mess with any more.
Other Random Novelty Wagers
The list goes on and on. Any newsworthy event that gets people talking is fair game for online betting. It can be things as morbid as celebrity death pools to run-of-the-mill bets on the high temperature next month in the United States or the UK.
Tips and Advice
If novelty gambling sites interest you, then it is a good idea to have accounts at a number of places. The range and variety of different odds available will differ from one spot to another, and there is often quite a difference in the prices available. It is well worth spending some time shopping lines to make sure you get the best value.
The more knowledge you have, the more likely you are to be successful with your selections. Following and staying up to date with the latest news will have you in a good position to make a judgement on potential outcomes. For example, if you are a huge X Factor fan and watch it religiously, then you can use you your knowledge of the contestants to (potentially) predict the next episodes events.
Remember also that some types of bets are more about reading public opinion than actually predicting the most logical outcome. When betting on politics, you need to put your personal bias aside and try to predict what the general public will do. Keep up to date on the news, political blogs and discussion forums and try to use that information to see which direction the general public is leaning.
And finally, don’t forget to look for value. There’s more to betting than just predicting the most likely outcome. You also need to compare the odds to the likelihood of winning in an effort to find outcomes that are undervalued. For example, if you think Politician A has a 60% chance of winning but the odds are -1200, it’s not a good value bet.
Look for sides that are undervalued. This might even have you betting on the underdog if the payout odds make up for the possibility of losing. On the other hand, you may sometimes find favorites that aren’t paying as much as you think they should be. This is a skill that takes time and experience to develop, but it will lead you well over the long run.
Novelty/entertainment gambling is a great opportunity to have a bit of fun and try and make yourself some money. Whatever you have an interest in, you are almost certain to find a company taking bets on it.
Mike Murphy is the founder of OnlineBettingSites.com and has over 10 years of experience in the legal online betting industry. A regular attendee of industry trade shows and conferences, Mike is a strong proponent of regulated markets and responsible gambling policies.