Betonsports Bets on War
By paul
Some people think that betting on war is distasteful, but to some it’s legitimate business – as does. The Costa Rica-based online sports book has taken 4,500 war-related bets for a total of $300,000.

'The most popular bet is when will the war start,' said Eddie King, a spokesman for 'It's freedom of choice. You don't have to bet if you don't want to,' King said. 'We are giving people the ability to bet on it. Because that's what they want.'

So freedom-loving punters the world over get to bet on propositions such as when the war starts, When Osama bin Laden will be captured and the fate of Saddam Hussein.

Betonsports odds-makers have a war by March 30 as even money - far better odds than picking the University of Connecticut men's basketball team, which the bookmaker has as a 15-to-1 shot to win the NCAA Tournament.

If you’d rather hedge your bets humanitarian aims, you can do so at has created a pool in which gamblers can bet on the day the war will begin - the winner getting paid in free gasoline. Bets are $5 - and legal because the game is actually a raffle, approved by the state of Massachusetts.

'We love gas. We love big cars, we love 80-degree homes, and we love all manner of plastics. What better way to celebrate the beginning of the coming war than by burning a gallon of free gasoline?' the website asks. Co- Eighty percent of proceeds from the pool will be donated to humanitarian organizations working in Iraq.

At Dublin-based, speculation on the war 'has been absolutely immense,' said John Delaney, the chief executive officer, who points out that his business doesn't involve betting but the purchase of 'contracts'.

Iraq has been 'our second most actively traded contract, second only to March Madness. It has traded more than the Superbowl,' said Delaney. More than $700,000 has been spent purchasing 'contracts' that pick the date of war, he said.

'There is no reason to say that this is gambling,' said Delaney, who likens a 'Saddam' contract to purchasing one for crude oil futures. 'Why would trading for oil be trading, and trading on Saddam's future be gambling?'

'We try and be as respectful as we can. We don't have a contract on when a war will start. We don't have a contract on casualties,' Delaney said. 'It is a contract on whether [Saddam Hussein] will be in power.'

However, leading online bookmaker has come out strongly against betting on war

'Bet offers on military conflicts, terrorist attacks and the like we feel are not only morally wrong, but give the gaming industry a black eye, which substantially outweighs any publicity companies may hope to achieve by making these offers,' said Simon Noble, CEO of

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