Online Bookies with Consciences Struggle, then Bet Heavily on Castro's Death

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I'm not sure there's anything more annoying than a bookie who pretends he's not willing to take a bet on anything:

"We don't want to profit on someone's death. But Castro is unique," said Christopher Bennett, media relations director for BetUS.com.

"I personally wrestled with it. But … this could have a huge effect on economics, foreign policy, trade. It's more than just someone passing away."

The online action for Castro's kicking of the bucket is as hot as [fill in Latin-flavored stereotypical metaphor here]. More here.

Anyone considering placing a wager should consult their voodoo priests, some of whom believe Fidel croaked on Monday, before laying down any cash.

Oh, and I just thought of something more annoying than a faux-conscientious bookie: It's the U.S. government arresting the head of an online gambling site that is fully legal in the guy's home country. What Reason's Jacob Sullum dubbed "the long arm of American paternalism."

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  1. “We don’t want to profit on someone’s death. But Castro is unique,” said Christopher Bennett, media relations director for BetUS.com.”

    I would love to profit from Castos death. If I could make some money off of that miserable bastard dying, it would be the most pleasurable money I ever made.

  2. When people start dancing in the streets prematurely, it’s a cinch that you will last at least another 5 years. Remember all the “Saddam is Dying” rumours?

    Given Murphy’s law, Castro may live to see a hundred.

  3. Really, at 79 Castro is not that old for a man who has always had a pretty robust constitution.

    And abdominal bleeding can have fairly trivial causes.

    I would not mourn El Jefe’s demise, but I’m sure not placing any bets on it happening any time soon.

  4. A bookie named Bennett? What were the odds? 🙂

    I still think that Castro is Immortal, and the only way to vanquish him is to send a Scottish swordsman to do the job.

  5. Castro won’t die anytime soon. After all, his country has the world’s best medical system right?

  6. I dunno. He’s a Communist dictator, and when Communist dictators are reported to be suffering some vaguely worded malady, and are said to have “temporarily” handed power to someone else, and then later release a statement saying – Hi everyone! I’m fine, don’t worry! but do not appear in public – it usually means a transition has begun. Especially when you consider what an attention hound he is. Maybe he’s dead, maybe comatose, maybe just not feeling well, but I don’t think he’ll be returning to work.

  7. “I’m not dead yet! I’m feeling much better!”

    “Shut up, old man! You’re not fooling anybody!”

  8. I must confess, stubby, that you have provoked second thoughts in me.

    The fact that noone has made any effort to have him make some kind of public appearance indicates that his condition may be much worse than I conjectured. I mean, how hard would it be to prop him up and get a little TV footage?

    Remember, Reagan posed for cameras the day after he was shot, and also after surgery for rectal polyps.

    OK, the polyps were really minor but he was actually in much worse condition after the assassination attempt than we were led to believe at the time.

    I just read an interview with Fidel’s daughter that said he had surgery for this in the 60s so maybe it’s a more severe condition than I originally speculated. But then I also did not know that he even had a daughter.

    It says something about communist paradises that the daughter of the dictator would defect, doesn’t it?

    Stalin’s daughter defected too. And Kruschev’s son moved to the US, but that was after the fall I believe.

  9. I think it’s nice to see them agonizing in public over betting ethics. I remember when the weird little men running this country proposed setting up some kind of “market” where people would trade “terrorism futures” in the peculiar belief that the market was so perfect it could predict the actions of a single, mentally ill individual, there was little protest or handwringing about the ethics of a futures trader.

    But I’ve always suspected that bookies were basically people who would have been commodities brokers if they had fallen in with the wrong crowd.

  10. The fact that noone has made any effort to have him make some kind of public appearance indicates that his condition may be much worse than I conjectured. I mean, how hard would it be to prop him up and get a little TV footage?

    I thought this too — but then I thought:

    Wouldn’t most dictators be averse to appearing publiclly in a physically weak or frail condition. Isn’t the continuing appearance of strength a major part of totalitarian propaganda?

    I’m sure they could prop him up, but they have to be considering what the consequences of publiclly showing a weakend Castro and how it may embolden his enemies and the population at large. It’s hard to have people fear you when you are in a hospital bed with tubes connected looking like you are on death’s door.

    At least that the only reason I could come up with to explain why if he is actually recovering, he wouldn’t have made any appearances

  11. ChicagoTom

    I suppose you night have a point.

    But I do have to recall that Reagan’s appearaces were considered important to maintain public confidence.

    I’m beginning to think that El Jefe is in worse condition than the reports have let on.

    But still no bets here. Just speculatin’.

  12. The fact that noone has made any effort to have him make some kind of public appearance indicates that his condition may be much worse than I conjectured. I mean, how hard would it be to prop him up and get a little TV footage?

    I thought this too — but then I thought:

    Wouldn’t most dictators be averse to appearing publiclly in a physically weak or frail condition. Isn’t the continuing appearance of strength a major part of totalitarian propaganda?

    I’m sure they could prop him up, but they have to be considering what the consequences of publiclly showing a weakend Castro and how it may embolden his enemies and the population at large. It’s hard to have people fear you when you are in a hospital bed with tubes connected looking like you are on death’s door.

    At least that the only reason I could come up with to explain why if he is actually recovering, he wouldn’t have made any appearances

  13. Sorry for the double post:

    But I do have to recall that Reagan’s appearaces were considered important to maintain public confidence

    Isaac,

    I believe keeping up appearances are much more imporatant in totalitarian regimes where the leaders tend to have a cult of personality around them.

    But what the hell do I know. Im speculating too 🙂

    If pushed to take a position, I believe he is alive and in worse condition than they are letting on as well.

    I wouldn’t wager my hard earned money on either side of the proposition, though

  14. Tom: I thought that too, at first. But then I thought – he’s been looking none too spry for a while now, and that never kept him off camera before. He’s got the liver spots, it looks like he might have the palsies, he’s got the Arafat-esque almost-but-not-quite-drooling thing – but he still showed up for pictures, cos he’s the guy they first made up the “most dangerous place in the world is between [____] and a camera” joke about. I’m thinking he’s not doing so well.
    And if he’s still alive – I hope he’s in pain, or incontinent, or otherwise in great distress.

  15. Then again, I think Lieberman will win the primary and Israel has hurt Hezbollah way worse than anyone realizes, so it’s a good thing I’m no gambler.

  16. Tom and stubby

    The fact that Castro did not personally announce his hospitalization and that he has not appeared (even briefly) since leads me to consider the fact that he is in much worse condition than I originally though.

    My noon comment is hereby withdrawn. 🙂

    Still no bets on his crossing to the other side. But I suspect there are serious discussions going on in Havana as to his permanent replacement.

    How does the Supreme Leader go out gracefully though? Especially when no other figure seems to anything like the popular following.

  17. Whatever El Jefe’s condition shit like this is not helpful.

    The Bushies really need to shut the fuck up!!!

  18. I’m renting “Weekend at Bernies” on my way home tonight.

  19. Wouldn’t most dictators be averse to appearing publiclly in a physically weak or frail condition. – ChicagoTom

    Yup. Frex, FDR’s handlers took pains that the press not print photos of him on crutches or in his wheelchair.

    Bee, Jimmy Kimmel did a Weekend At Fidel’s parody trailer tonight.

    Kevin

  20. The transfer of power is the key thing to me. This is a police state with no free press. If Castro needs minor surgery that will take him out of action for a week they can just have him take a “vacation”, or not explain it at all. The most logical explaination is that he is dead or they they think he might die. Instead of making a death annoucement they float this trial ballon and gauge the public reacion so that the military can get an idea of what kind of situation they are going to be looking at once the real announcement is made. The only other explaination I can think of is this- Castro is an old guy. He knows he’s dying soon. He knows Miami will go crazy partying when he does. To deny the “exile mafia” the satisfaction of a celebration, he has a series of 5 or 6 “fake” deaths. By the time he finally really dies, Miami is too worn out from false alarms to have a truly satisfying party.

  21. Yup. Frex, FDR’s handlers took pains that the press not print photos of him on crutches or in his wheelchair.

    There was also such a conspiracy of silence that even his enemies never spoke of his true condition (which was obvious to anyone who saw him outside of public appearances).

    It’s certainly possible that a dynamic like that is at work with Fidel.

    I did hear a report that the Cuban media is playing up the stress-related nature of this condition and how it has come about because “father” Fidel has been working so hard for “his children”, the Cuban people, that he has sacrificed his own health and well-being. Ugghh!

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