The Weirdest Things to Gamble On

Humans have been wagering for eons, and the only thing that rivals our need for wagering is the staggering amount of strange activities we come up with to bet on. Sure, you can bet on roulette games or slots, but why stop there? From friendly wagers among local groups to high stakes annual events, the following weird events and activities allow you to bet on the exciting outcome.

Bog Snorkeling

You don’t have to dive very deep to find a bizarre sport worthy of a wager. Bog snorkeling is all the rage in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, UK. In fact, the annual championship runs under the banner of Rude Health World Bog Snorkelling Championships. While swimming is certainly healthy, swimming face down in a trench of stinky, muddy water carved out of a bog is well, rather rude.

But that doesn’t stop the bog snorkelers from sloshing out to the bog in droves to compete, watch and/or place their bets on the winners. There are several categories of bog snorkeling, divided by gender, age, and country; there’s even a fancy dress category.

There are several hard and fast rules to bog snorkeling. You must snorkel 2 lengths of the bog (110 meters in total) and touch the post at each turn. You can only swim ‘soggy paddle’ style, face down in the water. This is where the snorkel comes in handy.

Local firms run betting action on the winners of the soggy sport, and for the serious bog whisperer, there’s even a bog triathlon event.

Ferret Bingo

Bingo is so blasé. Sure, it’s a great pastime for the senior crowd, but the game certainly needed a twist. So some bored bettors came up with a way to take bingo to the next level. How? By adding some numbers, some tunnels, a tube rat, and bingo! Ferret bingo was born.

Occasionally an octopus or a monkey makes the news for accurately predicting presidential elections—or the World Cup. Some of these animal celebrities even have a whole day named after them: Groundhog Day is the day when groundhog prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil waddles out of his burrow to predict the end of winter in Pennsylvania. The other 49 states use the Weather Channel.

But when you add the element of random probability, some tunnels, some numbers, and some twitchy little rodents; you have ferret bingo. Punters can pony up at the ferret box to place their bets. The box contains eight tunnels with eight numbers painted on the exits. But worry not, animal lovers, this is not a cage match between two tube rats. Two ferrets enter, two ferrets leave.

The object of the game is to predict from which numbered tunnel the ferrets will exit and place your bets. The tunnels are even rigged with special triggers which block a tunnel when one ferret has entered it, so the other ferret does not choose the same tunnel, and thus the same number.

Add to all this excitement a disclaimer scrawled on a sign: “These ferrets may bite.” Now you’re onto something.

Cow Patty Bingo

Apparently, bingo needed some serious tweaking, because another version exploded on the scene—and the green grass of the countryside: cow patty bingo. You read that right: bingo. Played with cow crap. In one of the crappiest games of chance ever devised, a farmer draws grids and numbers on a field, then releases the cow. And the cow releases the prize.

In a game which both rivals and ridicules roulette, enter: the cow. Where she craps, nobody knows. So place your bets! Pick a square you think will receive the fertilizer first, and win cash and prizes! Like ferret bingo, this game pairs live animals and live bets. However, the pace is decidedly slower. And only the cow decides where (and when) she will drop the prize poo.

Cows are fed very well beforehand in order to encourage the ‘action.’ However, the bingo farmers won’t administer laxatives, as some impatient bettors have suggested. However, the game has some interesting rules and regulations.

The squares must be of equal size, and spectators cannot interfere with the cow or the event. Often the cow has a time limit (oh the pressure) of one hour in which to produce the pie. If nature does not call during this time, the winner can be determined by raffle, or by whatever square the right front leg of the cow is standing in at the end of the hour. In some cases, an exceptional cow can drop more than one winner in one hour (the double deuce?).

What if the meadow muffin lands on a line between squares? Easy. An official determines the winner by finding which square has the largest measure of manure. It’s a stinky job, but someone has to do it.

Cheese Rolling

From the crappiest sport to the cheesiest, you can always find a bizarre event where you can win some serious cheese. Over in Gloucestershire, England, they roll like that. Each year, the Master of Ceremonies releases a 9-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese to go rolling down a hill, where it can reach speeds of 70 mph. And a pack of wild people race down the hill chasing the cheese.

The event was said to be originated in the 1800s, most likely after witnesses saw a cheese monger chasing after his prized cheese wheel after it had escaped his shop and started rolling down a hill. Naturally, the villagers must have placed bets on the man or the cheese.

Centuries later, hundreds of people from all walks of life literally descend on Cooper’s Hill, Gloucester, to chase the rolling cheese. Officials warn that this is not a sport for the weak-willed or weak-limbed. Dozens are injured every year as they fall, flip, and roll down the wet, grassy hill after the prized cheese wheel.

Place your bets on the winner, which is the first person to make it to the bottom of the hill. But be warned: serious injuries occur at this event—and not just to the runners, as one official stated.

“Spectators have been impaled after being hit by the wheel of cheese. No one is safe.”

Impaled? That must have been some (ahem) seriously sharp cheddar.

Wife Carrying

In the ultimate spirit of partnership, there exists a competition for married couples to work together as one to win prizes: the wife carrying race. A husband carries his wife through an obstacle course consisting of rough patches, dry patches, and puddles, in a race against time. The manner in which the wife is carried is completely up to the husband and the wife, though the carry has 3 basic variations: piggyback, over the shoulder, or Estonian-style, where the wife hangs upside-down with her legs straddling the husband’s neck and shoulders.

The sport was first introduced in Finland, though the UK claims that wife carrying originated when Viking raiders pillaged their villages and abducted their wives. Either way, it is a very Scandinavian sport, which is now enjoyed on almost every continent. And the couples do not have to be actually married, or even male/female. Same sex partners now proudly run the race as well. Though to be fair, only one of the pair is actually running. The other is slung over the shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

But this sport is so popular it is even sponsored by big sports betting companies like Paddy Power in Ireland. So place your bets!

If the idea of traveling to a land-based casino to spend all your money is not your idea of a good time, you can always find a weird and wild event going on somewhere. And even if there’s no proper sports betting company sponsoring the event, you can always look around for some eager bookie ready to take your betting action. Word of advice: thoroughly research your cheese, your cows, and your ferrets before risking any real money!

Laurie Sumner

Laurie Sumner is an avid slots player and online gaming enthusiast. Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Laurie rounded up the wagons and headed west to Arizona where she studied hotel and restaurant management before landing a great job in Las Vegas. Today Laurie spends her time teaching what she learned from nearly two decades in the Las Vegas hotel industry and writing articles on the games she loves.