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Entertainment Props

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Conventional wisdom contends that sports and entertainment wagers can't be equated because, like apples and oranges, they're two different things.

Somewhat strangely, though, considering the demographic groups to which many entertainment/political propositions are crafted to appeal, sports gamblers are their biggest bettors (although more than a few little old ladies from Pasadena eagerly await the Academy Awards every year).

If you don't believe it, watch the frenzy on Internet gaming posting forums if Pinny takes down "American Idol" odds for even a few hours.

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Teeny-boppers may comprise the target audience, but they're not the ones dialing island sportsbooks.

"It's difficult to compare entertainment props to our sports props," a Bodog.com book manager said.

"Sports props are usually the interest of stats-crazy sports fanatics, whereas entertainment props are more directed toward water cooler bragging rights.

"People take personal pride in predicting Greg Oden's points totals, but they'll tell everyone they know if they correctly predicted the winner of 'Dancing with the Stars' or if they have placed a few dollars on who will father Britney's next child (Bodog's options include Bill Clinton, George Bush and, at 12/1, Hugh Hefner)."

Nevada gamers only allow betting on pure college and pro athletic competitions, along with car, buggy and four-legged creature racing, all things that don't involve balloting.

No Oscars, no Emmys, no Grammys, no nothing -- except boxing.

Go figure.

(Hmmm ... could that sound of music be Sin City coffers jingling in anticipation of next month's De La Hoya-Mayweather megamatch?

Word on the street is it will be Vegas' biggest ring payday ever -- bigger than than Frazier-Ali, Leonard-Hearns and the infamous Tyson-Holyfield biting bout a decade ago.)

Betting on politics -- a "sport" in many minds, especially as it concerns American elections -- is very popular, except in the USA, where wagering on voting is verboten.

The grapevine whispered that several high-profile US gamblers nevertheless supported themselves by strategically betting GW futures online in 2004.

This year, some Caribbean bet shops already have narrowed their 2008 US Presidential wagering fields to a trio of candidates (Olympic/The Greek) in each major party.

Others list lengthy candidate rosters (Gamblers Palace) or further have cut bait by reducing the proposition to whether Democrats or Republicans (CRIS) will prevail.

Hillary -- but watch out for Barack! -- and Rudy are current favorites.

The former New York City mayor appears to be the public choice in a showdown with the ex-First Lady, though polls indicate many people figure ticket headliners won't be determined for another 10 or so months and that HRC might have a better shot at winning the nomination than a general election.

Be wary for now, however.

Some books try to hook the suckers with fishy lures, such as listing foreign-born California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger among GOP hopefuls or former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who already has withdrawn, among donkey prospects.

Actually, anything goes offshore: hurricanes, global warming, celebrity babies' daddies, international-impact elections (British, French, Canadian, Australian), even America's annual high school spelling bee.

The latest Don Imus potty-mouth incident that shook Earth has begat wide-ranging speculation about the shock jock's future in a BetUS.com prop, which asks what's in his currently snowy crystal ball.

Writing a tell-all bio is plus $2.00, while Imus landing a gig on "Today" is plus $150.00.

Other choices include becoming an Obama campaign coordinator, joining Howard Stern at Sirius, getting divorced and joining the staff of the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

Reality TV alone has spawned a galaxy of wagering propositions, beginning in the mid-1990s with "Survivor" and continuing into today with productions such as "The Apprentice," "Big Brother" and "The Bachelor."

Remember the brouhaha that ensued at Bodog.com when someone at CBS allegedly blabbed after taping about who won an early "Survivor?"

The "eye" made sure that didn't happen again.

If you're a "Sopranos" fan, check out Bodog.com's "prop culture."

"The Family" boasts more collective props than the New York Yankees.

Bodog.com captured worldwide intrigue with a prop that asked if Heather Mills, the estranged wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, would lose her prosthetic leg during taping of "Dancing with the Stars."

She still was alive, leg attached, entering this week's elimination.

Another wanted to know if an "American Idol" contestant would throw up on stage.

Just about every offshore bet shop has numbers on who will win this season's series, described as a singing competition, and all favor Melinda Doolittle.

Likewise, they indicate Phil Stacey will be the next contestant to go, though prices on both props vary, illustrating once more the value of shopping around.

Ditto re: Sanjaya Malakar, the mop-haired teen from India who has startled observers with his staying power.

Now 5/2 at Bodog.com and plus $2.85 at CRIS, oddsmakers obviously have begun paying serious attention to the one-time bow-wow.

"'The American Idol' props have been extremely popular even amongst the most experienced gamblers," the Bodog.com sportsbook source said.

"'Idol's' popularity has reached into the stratosphere when you consider the fact you have the quitessential anti-Idol, Howard Stern, talking up the show and encouraging his listeners to vote.

"Of course Stern being Stern, he wants his listeners to vote for the worst 'Idol' contestant, which has helped keep both the performance and results show consistently at the top of the ratings pile.

"The nature of 'American Idol' and 'Dancing with the Stars' allows bettors a chance at a do over; if their initial pick is eliminated they can still pick one of the remaining hopefuls to win it all."

  
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