Longest Running Bets Past and Future
In the world of betting, ante-post wagers are common because they offer larger odds than bets placed closer to the action. It’s why people will often look to see who the runners for the following year are likely to be in the Grand National or the Cheltenham Gold Cup not long after that year’s race has been run. There is value to be found in ante-post bets, even though they also come with the inherent risk of being losing wagers if the event doesn’t take place in the manner you’d expect.
Of course, we’re not talking about those sorts of wagers here. Instead, we’re looking at bets that were placed well ahead of time on random things. The sort of wager that might not come true for a decade or more. A bet placed on the world ending would be a good example of this, though one that is more appropriate to put in the category of ‘weird’ wagers. We’ll look at long-term bets on this page, exploring what happened to them - if such a thing is known yet, obviously.
Bets That Took An Age To Settle
Some people can either predict the future or feel as though they can. Regardless, they are that confident in their own ability that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is and wager a stake on something that they have got a sense will happen. Here is a look at some examples of such wagers that have taken a good long while to be settled.
Hamilton To Win The Formula 1
How much money would you be willing to stake on a thirteen-year-old going on to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix? What about on a young person who wouldn’t be legally allowed to drive for three more years winning the World Drivers’ Championship? Well someone obviously saw something in a young Lewis Hamilton, placing the first bet on him being victorious in a Grand Prix before he was 23 at odds of 200/1, whilst also figuring that he’d be a world champion by 25.
The person who had such foresight was Richard Hopkins, placing the wagers after watching Hamilton beat his son Evan at go-karting. It was back in 1998, placing £200 on him achieving his first Formula 1 win at such a young. He was also offered odds of 500/1 on the World Champion by 25 shout, so staked another £100 on that coming true. Later that year Hopkins doubled down, putting another £50 on both those bets coming in at odds of 1,500/1.
In total, Richard Hopkins won £165,000 thanks to his faith in Lewis Hamilton, even though he had to wait a decade for his prediction to be proven correct. He had known Lewis for a number of years before placing the bet, believing that his ‘fantastic attitude to racing’ would see him go on to achieve greatness in the sport. In fact, the £125,000 that Ladbrokes paid out when Hamilton became world champion was the largest such payout on motor-sports.
Betting On Roger Federer
The year is 2003. Nick Newlife is something of a tennis buff and likes the look of Roger Federer, who is in his early twenties. The Swiss player had just beaten Mark Philippoussis in straight sets to win his first Wimbledon title, which makes Newlife think that he’s going to be in it for the long-haul. Off he goes to his bookmaker of choice where he places a bet of £1,520 on Federer winning seven Wimbledon titles by the year 2019.
You might think that the odds of 66/1 were quite long, but you’ve got to remember that Federer was really only just starting out on the journey that all know now that he took. If anything, they might have seemed a little short to Nick Newlife, but he placed the bet regardless. He knew that it would take more than a decade and a half for him to see his prediction either come true or crash and burn, but he was so confident in Federer that he placed a small fortune on it.
Sadly, Newlife died in 2009, but he made sure that his foresight would do some good in the world. He left the betting slip to the charity Oxfam in his will, meaning that when Federer defeated Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final in 2012, Oxfam was paid the £101,840 winnings from the bet. Remarkably, it wasn’t even the first winning bet from Newlife on Federer, with Oxfam also having picked up £16,750 when the Swiss player won his 14th Grand Slam title in 2009.
Trusting In Youth
It is the dream of every parent that their child goes on to bigger and better things than they were able to achieve. Perhaps that’s why a whole host of hopeful parents contact bookmakers in order to place a bet on their offspring achieving something wonderful. So it was that Eddie Kirkland went to his bookie in 1995 and asked for odds on his son, Chris, playing football for England before turning 30, getting odds of 100/1.
He got together with some friends and family members and raised nearly £100 for the bet, which had 17 years to comer to fruition before it would become a losing one. Such was Eddie’s faith in his 13-year-old son that he never questioned his decision to place the bet, nor that he roped others in to raise the funds. It was a bet that Chris Kirkland would go on to refer to as the ‘bane’ of his life, given how often it would get mentioned to him by various people.
When England lined up against Greece in a friendly match in 2006, however, the weight of expectation was lifted off Chris’s shoulders when the 25-year-old started, whilst Eddie’s bank account swelled by £9,908.10. It might have happened for him even soon, had his career not been shaken by regular injury problems. He signed for Liverpool in 2001, arriving at the same time as Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek who would help the Reds to a famous Champions League victory in 2005.
A Big Bet On Andy Murray
When Nick Newlife’s bet on Roger Federer came in after the Swiss player defeated Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, it game someone else an idea to look to follow suit. They decided that the Scot’s performance was good enough to merit placing a big bet on him to go one step further in the future, so they got in touch with Ladbrokes and asked for odds on Murray winning the Wimbledon title at some point during his life.
Given he’d just made it to the final, some might imagine that the odds of 4/1 were a little long. Doubtless the bookie felt that a British male player’s chance of success at the South London venue was historically slim, so they weren’t too fussed about the odds they offered. They might have been given pause for thought when the bettor put £10,000 forward on the bet, however. It was a bet that they didn’t have to wait long to win, however, with Murray victorious in 2013.
The Bet On Global Warming
When Donald Trump was President and other populist characters were elected to high office around the world, the idea that climate change might be a ‘hoax’ suddenly became an actual talking point. In the world of ‘alternative facts’ it seemed as though people could just ignore reality in favour of pretending whatever they wanted to be true was true. In 2008, however, Chris Hope could see the writing that was on the wall and made a wager out of it.
Rather than place the bet with a bookmaker, Hope, a Climate Economist, challenged other people present at a conference in Cambridge in 2008. He asked everyone there whether they were willing to bet £1,000 on 2015 not being hotter than 2008. Ian Plimer and Sir Alan Rudge took him up on the offer with even odds. As an economist, Hope realised it would be sensible to hedge his bet and Climate Scientist James Annan gave him odds of 4/1 on the opposite happening.
Hope said, “I was perfectly hedged: I would win £1,333 if 2015 were cooler than 2008, and £1,334 if it were warmer.” When 2015 did indeed prove to be warmer than 2008, Hope won £1,344 and Annan took £666. The fact that 2015 ended up being a record-breaking hot year will have rubbed salt further in the wounds of Plimer and Rudge, who also didn’t bear in mind that 2008 was actually a notoriously cool year. Climate change 1 - Deniers 0.
Bets Yet To Be Settled
It’s not just bets that we already know the outcome of that are interesting. There are also plenty of bets out there, both ones placed with bookmakers and some not, that haven’t been settled at the time of writing. No, we’re not talking about the bet on the end of the world, given that no one could claim the winnings anyway. Instead we’re talking about bets that will take time for the result to be confirmed.
The Tories Betting On Themselves
It isn’t unusual for a Conservative party MP to be confident in their own ability, nor is it uncommon for them to look to make money in whatever way they can. So it was that Chris Kelly and Justin Tomlinson went to a bookmaker during the says studying at Oxford Brookes University and asked for odds on themselves to become Prime Minister before the year 2038. They were offered odds of 10,000/1, with Tomlinson placing two £50 wagers down.
What the bookmaker in question couldn’t have predicted was that they would both go on to become Members of Parliament, with Kelly standing for election in 2010 in Dudley South and Tomlinson doing so in North Swindon. Whilst Kelly stood down in 2015, Tomlinson continued to represent his district and was made the Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health by Theresa May in 2019, maintaining the position under Boris Johnson.
The bet hasn’t yet run out of time and if it ends up being a winner then whoever becomes Prime Minister will also stand to win £500,000 to supplement the wage they’ll get paid for assuming the highest office in the land. At the time of writing it looks as though Tomlinson has more chance of seeing the bet come to fruition than Kelly does, but you just never know how things will turn out when it comes to the world of politics.
The Long Bets
There are websites online that specialise in publishing bets that won’t be settled for long periods of time. The rules of such sites state that they must be ‘provable’, whilst the bet must also take at least two years to come to fruition. There is no maximum length of time, nor is there a maximum amount that can be wagered. It is essentially a niche world in which people bet large sums of money, often willing to give winnings to charity.
One such example involved Warren Buffett, who said, “Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on December 31, 2017, the S&P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and expenses.” The bet was taken up by Protege Partners, LLC, with stakes of $2,222,278 being put forward and either Girls Incorporated of Omaha or Friends of Absolute Return for Kids, Inc standing to win.
At the time of writing, a live bet was put forward by Dean Mullen, who said that “Slaughterhouses will be banned in the United Kingdom by 2050”. He has wagered $400, which will be given to Animal Equality if he wins. If it hasn’t happened, however, then Effective Altruism will take the prize thanks to Jeff T Kaufman taking him up on the bet. The bet was placed in 2019, giving 31 years for the the pair to wait to see who will win it.