March 2020 marked the start of the unknown for most of the world. As the Covid-19 pandemic began to get a firm grip on almost every country across the planet, governments began to make forced closures of public events and even the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo weren’t exempt from the changes.
The Japanese government was obviously keen to remain optimistic in the early days of the crisis with the then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe desperate to plead the case for going ahead with the games. However, at the end of March, he finally conceded the inevitable, and the games suffered a postponement until summer 2021.
Activities that increased during the lockdown
In the absence of major sporting events, and with much of the world intermittently confined to their homes, millions of people turned to other forms of entertainment to keep themselves occupied.
The UK Office for National Statistics reports that, on average, most people spent nearly three hours a day glued to their TV sets catching up with all their favorite shows. Surprisingly, only 28 minutes a day were spent reading, and keeping fit saw a small but positive resurgence in that 23 minutes each day were devoted to physical activities.
One of the biggest growth areas seen during the lockdown was online gambling. In the absence of in-person entertainment, many punters turned their attention towards internet casino and sports betting providers such as those that can be found on Casino.xyz. The industry was already enjoying a rise in activity before the pandemic, and the lockdown provided them with a welcomed boost to trading figures.
Betting and sports events usually go hand in hand, and given the volume of different competitions that are included, the Olympics usually attracts a large portion of wagers. But, it’s not always the win/lose prop bets that catch the eye of your avid punter. Brits are well-known for their love of gambling on anything and everything, so it’s no surprise that the 2012 Olympic Games in London saw the rise of some odd betting choices. Here we take a look at some of the less conventional bets that were placed during the games.
2.Every team in the final of the men’s 4×400 relay drops the baton. A bet offered during the 2012 London Olympic Games that prompted a few smiles and some opportunistic flutters too. The odds at the time were 250/1, so it’s understandable that some people thought it was worth a punt as you never know what might happen when the pressure builds up during the final race.
Fortunately for the bookies, the event went off without any hitches and the batons were successfully carried from start to finish by every team. The Bahamas went on to win the relay taking home the first gold medal for a male from the Bahamas in any Olympic athletics event ever.
2. Boris Johnson catches fire. At the time, the now-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was Mayor of London and it’s fair to say that his reputation of being slightly disorganized at that time was causing event organizers some concern. So much so in fact, that many people reasoned that the whole event could have gone horribly wrong. Bookies were offering 33/1 odds on him catching his hair alight on the Olympic torch. Thankfully this never happened.
3.Constant rain. The UK is infamous for its grey skies and rain so it wasn’t a huge surprise that the bookies would leverage it for a prop bet. At one time, it was possible to get 50/1 odds on it raining every single day for the duration of the games. But, true to its reputation, the British weather remained as unpredictable as ever, and there was actually a decent amount of sunshine and dry weather.
4. The London Underground would come to a standstill. It’s fair to say that many Londoners don’t have a lot of faith in their metro system. Perpetual engineering works and strikes have been a regular feature for many years — they even have their own wiki page.
It almost felt like a safe bet at the time when odds of 10/1 were offered on a strike bringing the system to its knees during the competition. Luckily, there were no disputes and the public transport system coped well with demand.
5. Spice Girls wardrobe malfunction. Last, and by no means least, was the opening ceremony, and more specifically, The Spice Girls set. Geri Halliwell had famously given the Brit Awards audience a little more than they bargained for during an acceptance speech a decade earlier, and British bookies thought there might be every chance of a repeat at the 2012 games.
However, everybody’s blushes were spared on the night and the set was a great success for all the right reasons.