When sports activities were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, many bookmakers came up with new tricks to attract customers, such as betting on the speed of sharks’ migration.
On June 17, MyBookie, an online US bookmaker, invited customers to bet on nine white sharks and predict where they will migrate this summer.
The company’s website displays odds ratios based on various aspects of the white shark migration journey. The data was taken from Ocearch, a non-profit organization that tracks the movement of white sharks – endangered species.
The interactive map on Ocearch’s website tracks the movements of the sharks almost in real time, as they are equipped with navigation devices. Players will rely on this data to bet, everything like a virtual horse race takes place in the ocean.
In the context of most sports tournaments in the US being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the betting market has also been hit hard in recent months. Betting on sharks can give gamblers a way out of boredom, and some conservationists question whether this will help improve the image of the white shark in people’s eyes.
Chris Fischer, the founder of Ocearch, said he didn’t know the MyBookie bookmaker used his organization’s data to make bets. It was not until he read an article in Forbes about this that Mr. Fischer broke down and asked the bookmaker to stop organizing betting on sharks.
Mr. Fischer emphasized that, although he believed that MyBookie had made a mistake this time, he did not dare to claim that betting and conservation – the two seemingly unrelated to each other – would not be parallel in the future.
This is not the first time, wildlife has become the subject of gambling. In 2015, the famous British bookmaker William Hill teamed up with the UK ornithology fund to hold a betting deal with 17 cuckoo birds during the spring migration. As part of the event, the dealer donated £ 1,000 to the fund and a William Hill spokesman said the purpose of the competition was to raise awareness about the cuckoo birds.
Another bookmaker also organized a polar fish based on the journey of a skin turtle from Costa Rica to the Galapagos Islands in 2007, according to David Strauss, head of the rafters division of MyBookie.