The Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has started offering a macabre bet on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Punters can bet on any endangered species dying out first because of the tragedy. The turtle is the market leader.
With odds of 4/5, the Kemp turtle is the most likely candidate to become extinct. At this time of year the turtles usually spend a considerable amount of time in the Gulf of Mexico. After an oil spill in 1979, the reptile recovered moderate, but there were still only around 8,000 alive at the last count.
The list also includes the brown pelican - the official bird of Louisiana - the bluefin tuna and the leatherback turtle. Sperm whales and blue whales are both at 16/1. While bookmaker PaddyPower.com can earn big money from these bets, the company says that the whole point is to raise awareness of the catastrophe. "There is no doubt that we will lose a few types. The only question is what", said a spokesperson for Paddy Power.
You can also bet on who the next CEO of BP will be in case the current leader, Tony Hayward is replaced.
PaddyPower.com often offers similarly strange bets. Last year you could bet on how many polar bears estimated to be alive in 2011. The IUCN was drummed up as a consultant. Fortunately, you can also place less macabre bets with the bookmaker, such as on the World Cup.