Gump, Gruyere, and Game of Thrones: What Do They All Have to Do With the Gambling Industry?

For many gamblers, March is a special month. It’s not just the month of daylight savings time or the spring equinox; March marks the beginning of the collegiate basketball tournament affectionately referred to as March Madness. As a major gambling month, with even non-bettors getting in on the action through office pools and other wagering opportunities, March has historically seen an uptick in gambling holdings as opposed to many other months. In fact, just a brief year ago, in March 2019, sports betting revenue in Pennsylvania experienced a significant increase of 40%, mostly due to March Madness fever. 

Now, because of a different kind of fever, the betting landscape of today looks dramatically different. In the wake of the coronavirus quarantine, live sporting events are all but nonexistent; however, bettors are still finding unexpected — and sometimes amusing — alternatives to wager on. 

For instance, bettors have turned to everything from horse racing in Florida to soccer in Belarus, and even ping pong in Moscow. Yes, that’s right — the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has made it legal to wager on table tennis matches in Russia. 

Here’s a look at some alternatives that people in New Jersey may turn to when sports betting is unavailable:

Here at CCGNJ, we understand that problem gambling is a serious issue, and we’re dedicated to spreading awareness and offering support, treatment, and hope to problem gamblers. However, over the years, there have been some bizarre competitions that bettors could actually place wagers on, and we thought we’d take this time during the quarantine to take a lighthearted look at some of the oddest, most outrageous gambling events across the world. 

The Most Bizarre Things You Can Bet On

Wife Carrying 

Originating in Finland, this competition is exactly what it sounds like — male competitors must carry their female teammates through an obstacle course; the fastest time wins the competition. Not only can you place wagers on this event, but gambling news sites like GamingZion even offer tips and strategies to help you make the most of your bet.

Ping Pong

As mentioned earlier, Russian table tennis has recently been cleared to wager on by the NJ Gaming Enforcement Division. This means that now you can bet on one the world’s most played indoor sports; in fact, in late March, ping pong matches in Russia and Ukraine accounted for almost 60% of all funds wagered on DraftKings. Such news might make even Forrest Gump proud to be a renowned ping pong champion.

Cheese Rolling

While it’s not quite an Olympic event— yet — cheese rolling still attracts bettors from around the globe. In this English “sport,” competitors roll large wheels of cheese down a hill; the fastest one across the finish line wins. No matter the outcome, it’s widely reported that everyone has a “gouda” time at the event.

Proof of Aliens

We don’t know for sure if we’re alone in the universe or there are other beings among us — but that hasn’t stopped people from waging on it. Just a few years ago, Australian sportsbook was offering odds on the existence of extraterrestrial life. What a truly “alien” concept! 

Bog Snorkeling

Chances are, you’ve probably never heard of bog snorkeling. However, this Welsh sport draws entrants from around the world in a yearly event where competitors must complete two laps of a lane carved into a smelly peat bog. Although the event is for a good cause — raising awareness about the environmental importance of peat bogs — you can still place wagers on the Bog Snorkelling Championship. In fact, it was even sponsored by a betting site one year.  


A game enjoyed by millions of people across the globe, early forms of chess likely began as early as the 7th century. Since then we’ve seen Russian Grandmasters (Garry Kasparov) child prodigies (Bobby Fischer) and even a computer that beat the reigning world champion (Deep Blue) play the game. Now, thanks to sites like, bettors can get in on the action as well by placing wagers on competitions in France and Russia. 

TV Outcomes

As avid consumers of TV and other media, we are fiercely loyal to our favorite programs. Sometimes, so much so that we think we can predict what will happen. Shows like Game of Thrones and competitions such as The Voice and the Oscars may already have viewers on the edge of their seats, but it’s possible to raise the stakes even higher with entertainment wagers on sites like BetDSI and others.

While these may be some pretty bizarre competitive events that people place bets on, problem gambling is no laughing matter. If you or someone you know is coping with problem gambling, contact 800-GAMBLER today for support, treatment, and hope. 



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