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Americans Wager on War Online

28 February 2003

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle: "War with Iraq may cost taxpayers billions, but some Americans hope to recoup some of their losses online.

"Thousands of armchair gamblers are logging onto Internet bookmakers, where they can place bets on the date and hour the United States will attack Iraq. At Costa Rica's www.betonsports.com, winning bets that the war starts next week would pay off 2-to-1; the week after, 1.5-to-1.

"So far 4,400 people have wagered about $250,000 at BETonSPORTS on this and other Iraq questions -- such as what will become of Saddam Hussein after the war, according to Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers. The site is one of about 1,000 online gambling sites taking bets on war with Iraq right now, estimated Kevin Smith, a researcher for the St. Louis gaming consulting firm River City Group.

"…Some say it's unseemly to wager on war, considering the death and suffering involved.

"..Carruthers says he doesn't consider war bets in bad taste, as long as they stay within bounds.

"`I wouldn't put up a bet on how many casualties there will be,' he said. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Carruthers opted not to take any bets on future acts of terrorism…"

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