Betting on extinction

As oil and sludge continue to surge onto the Gulf Coast from BP’s blown out Deepwater Horizon well, more and more animals are suffering. But one company sees a way to profit from the calamity. And if you’re the betting type, you could pad your pockets along with it.

As the New York Times reported this week, gambling website — which places odds on events from political elections and stock market crashes to volcano eruptions and summer heatwaves — is taking bets on which marine species in the Gulf will be the first to go the way of the dodo as a result of what may be the world’s largest oil spill.

“We kind of have a very simple philosophy at Paddy Power — within reason if there is a very newsworthy event that are people are talking about, people should be allowed to back up their opinion with some cash,” company spokesperson Ken Robertson, told the NYT.

Kemp’s Ridley turtle is currently leading the pack with 4/5 odds. Long shots (at 20/1) include the Gulf sturgeon, the elkhorn coral, and the smalltooth sawfish, whose cousin, the largetooth sawfish, was proposed as a federally endangered species on May 7.

Is this a good way to “highlight the environmental catastrophe,” as

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  1. Margaret says:

    I am appalled that people are betting on which species will die out because of this environmental catastrophe. Pity all those pathetic gamblers wouldn’t put their cash on an effort to help clean it up & prevent extinctions instead of trying to make money from it!

  2. Mike A says:

    I didn’t know that the turtle species was threatened by the spill until I saw the gambling site so at least in my case, the bettors brought this to my attention. If it brings it to peoples attention, then those people might actually do something about it, so the net affect of the gambling is positive, regardless of the bettors motives.

  3. Brad B says:

    I wonder what the odds are on HUMAN extinction?

    • Claire says:

      Humans are in the process of bringing about the demise of the planet; it will be our just deserts if we become extinct. As Stephen Hawking commented, human greed and stupidity will destroy the planet.

  4. BobSmith says:

    Who cares? What’s it matter if they bet on an NBA game, a game of paper-rock-scissors, or this? It’s their money, let them do what they please…

  5. Arlanthe says:

    I think this is black humor more anything.

  6. alistair senior says:

    Something a little sickening about this. But, on the other hand, will be quite interesting to see how accurate the odds given by bookies are. given that they are based on essentially “public opinion” rather than ecological data or experimental causality. if they are correct, could this be a new way of gathering legitmate ecological insights?