Weird Universe

Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Longshot Bet

In 1997 Steve Caldicott of Birmingham placed a bet with William Hill Bookmakers that his son Jack, who was 3½ months old, would score a goal for England in the World Cup final in 2018. If he scores, Steve will win $1.67 million.

Jack is now 19. Any sign that he's a budding soccer star? He's still got two years to go. But, of course, England will also have to make it to the World Cup final.

Southern Illinoisan - Jan 16, 1997

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Jan 15, 2016 | Comments (6)
Category: 1990's, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

The Dark Underbelly of Bingo

Over at, I did a two-part series exploring the dark underbelly of bingo — articles here and here.

My favorite story was the 1990 case of a grandmother who started having non-stop orgasms and developed lesbian tendencies after a bingo scoreboard fell on her head.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Dec 09, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Rat Roulette

Based on the description, it doesn't sound like this was particularly cruel to the rat, though perhaps slightly stressful for it. Apparently the Humane Society got custody of the rat once the game was closed down.

Source: Santa Cruz Evening News - Jun 15, 1939
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu May 29, 2014 | Comments (16)
Category: Animals, Sports, 1930's, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Confusing Cool Cash

Camelot, makers of a "Cool Cash" lottery scratchcard, thought the rules of the game were fairly simple. Users could win a prize if the number revealed by scratching off the window was "a lower temperature than the one displayed on each card." But the company had to withdraw the card after numerous people became confused by these rules. Case in point, Tina Farrell of Manchester who said:

"On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't. I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it."

[Yahoo! News]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Dec 13, 2013 | Comments (12)
Category: Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Lottery Tips

"Numbers are very unpredictable....Let's use a little bit of reality..."

Uh, yeah, right, um, just remembered, I left the cat boiling back home--gotta run!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Oct 28, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Money, Outsider Art, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Orson Welles on Gambling

Back in 1978, Orson Welles did an advertising film for Caesars Palace, designed to teach would-be tourists how to gamble. I guess he needed the money. But he nevertheless goes through the rules of baccarat, craps, etc. with his distinctive style.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Sep 13, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Doc Owens, Con Man

As early as December 1900, the notorious Doc Owens was making headlines, having established his racket of fleecing sea-going sheep.




Three years later, The New York Times did a special feature on Owens and his fellows (with his photo miscaptioned).

Click here for very readable PDF download.



But Owens was to meet poetic justice in 1912, as our final piece reveals.


Chicken Poop Bingo

The rules are that players bet on a 54-number grid. Then they wait for a chicken to poop somewhere on the grid. So it sounds more like Chicken Poop Roulette, than Bingo, since you don't wait to get a bingo. According to the Wall Street Journal, the game was invented in a New Orleans bar during the 1980s. There's also a version that involves cow poop.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Oct 29, 2012 | Comments (8)
Category: Sports, Excrement, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Two Postcards



I just bought these yesterday from my favorite used-book store, Cellar Stories Books, and thought I would share them with you all.

Long-Term Betting on Your Kids

According to the BBC, it's becoming increasingly popular for parents to place long-term bets with bookmakers on whether their kids will achieve fame and fortune during their lives. For instance, whether their kid will become a famous soccer player or a great golfer:

A particular type of long-time achievement bet - parents having a bet on their children achieving something in their life - has increased tenfold in the past five years, according to Ladbrokes.
"Parents betting on their children's future successes is as popular as betting on the final of the X Factor," says Jessica Bridge, from the firm.'s not all about sporting prowess, he says. Many parents will place bets that their children will pass a particular exam. And then there was the grandmother who thought her granddaughter so beautiful that she wagered she would grace the front cover of a leading fashion magazine.
"People do it for a variety of reasons," says Sharpe. "They are demonstrating that they have real faith in someone - have every confidence in them. They may be using it as an incentive. Or it could just be a bit of fun. Something to talk about, or put on the wall.

If only my parents had placed a bet when I was a child that I would grow up to be a blogger at Weird Universe, they'd be rich! Although the internet didn't exist back then, so it would have been a real longshot bet.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jul 11, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Family, Children, Games, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.