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Bookies offer desperate gamblers bizarre options in world without
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With coronavirus shutting down pro sports and shuttering casinos, desperate gamblers are betting on the weather.
A Rockland County bookmaker told The Post that this week he's offering customers an under/over proposition: the climate in Paris at exactly 2 p.m. on Saturday.
In fact, it was a client's idea.
"Just bringing yourself to bet on that is absolutely degenerate," the bookie acknowledged. "It also shows just how much everyone misses sports."
The betting "line" is 16.5 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit). A bettor who wagers on the "under" would need the mercury to stay below 16.5 degrees, while those betting "over" would need temps to be warmer than that number. The forecast calls for 17 degrees.
"Seems like free money to me," said one gambler who is currently monitoring French meteorological reports as carefully as he once did NFL injury lists on Sunday.
The big winner is the bookie, of course, who charges a 10% fee -- called the "vigorish" or "vig" -- on losing bets.
Creative wagering is filling a void left by the loss of legal sports betting -- although online gambling on table tennis, esports and even curling has emerged during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bookies are "adjusting, innovating ... and finding a market," explained Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program. "That's just good business practices."
Unfortunately, he added, some gambling addicts right now are feeling a "physical state of gambling withdrawal," and instead of seeking readily available help will recklessly risk money on just about anything to fight the resulting depression, anxiety, loss of appetite or sleep deprivation.
"What's next?" Fong said. "Precipitation, wind, humidity, dew point?"