By Graham Sharpe

Strange Bets That William Hill Accepts

"Graham Sharpe is William Hill's Media Relations Manager.
This week he writes about the many strange bets
that William Hill accept!"

It is not quite true that William Hill will take a bet on absolutely anything - for one thing it is illegal for us to take a bet on any aspect of the National Lottery, for another there are certain parameters of taste which even we feel uncomfortable at crossing - e.g. bets involving the deaths of individuals.

However it is certainly a fact that William Hill will endeavour where possible to put odds to any reasonable proposition with which we are approached. Which is why I have just been wrestling with the problem of how likely it will be that the Olympic Torch will go out en route to Sydney for the Games later this year; the likelihood of a 75 year old gentleman called Charlie Boy Smith living to 140 years old (1,000,000/1); and what are the chances of a correspondent managing to get himself onto the Who Wants to be a Millionaire programme, correctly answering just one question, and then walking off! (About 500/1).

The ingenuity and invention of punters never ceases to amaze me and there is always something out of the ordinary popping up in my post bag or via an e-mail.

This type of betting became popular the best part of forty years ago when one David Threlfall was shrewd enough to predict that a man would set foot on the moon before January 1, 1970 came round.

William Hill were shrewd enough to offer him odds of 1000/1 against that happening - not my fault, I didn't even work here in those days and, oddly, I've never managed to find anyone prepared to take credit for compiling those particular odds!


David Threfall duly collected £10,000 when Neil Armstrong jumped on the surface of the moon - sadly he (Threfall, not Armstrong) later killed himself in the sports car he bought with his winnings.

Mind you, there is a school of thought which suggests that Mr. Threlfall should never have been paid out in the first place - I'm taking about one bet a month at odds of 100/1 that it will eventually be proved that the moon landings were actually an elaborate cold-war hoax.

Space has always played a significant part in providing material for off-beat bets and we receive a constant stream of wagers that proof of the current existence of extra terrestrial life will be forthcoming.

When we take these bets we are mindful of insisting that payment will only be made if 'intelligent' life is discovered, and that it seems increasingly likely that when and if such proof turns up it will do so via monitoring of radio signals transmitted from a far distant source and picked up on this planet - thus obviating the necessity of little green men arriving in shiny flying saucers in the lawn of the White House.

On a more down to earth level I'm finding that people are keener to place bets where they feel they have the advantage of insider information - so they want to bet that they will lose weight; give birth to twins, stay married for fifty years; live to be 100; their children will pass their exams or grow up to be great sporting heroes or major pop stars. We're happy to consider them all.

And if you have a pet theory you'd like to run past us or an idea for a bet which you can't quite believe anyone would be interested in, well just e-mail me at and I'll do my best to give you a positive response.

You can bet on that!