Gambling and Wagers

Return of the King? What are the Odds?

elvis wager horse odds wimbledon betting

Elvis Presley (left) and the horse Shergar (right)

Ian MacMillan was counting on the return of the King — the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, that is.

In 2002 MacMillan, an unemployed resident of Great Britain, placed a wager of five pence (7¢ in US currency) in favor of Elvis Presley riding into town on a horse named Shergar for a tennis match with Lord Lucan at Wimbeldon.

MacMillan was undeterred by the one or two obstacles that might get in the way of things turning out in his favor:

  • Elvis Presley died in 1977
  • Shergar, an Irish racehorse, was stolen in 1983 and hasn’t been seen since
  • Lord Lucan, an English peer and murder suspect, disappeared in 1974 and is still misssing

All things considered, bookmakers William Hill decided the odds of such an event transpiring at 20,000,000 to 1. MacMillan planned on placing £10 on the bet, which would have earned him £200,000,000 ($288,013,000). The bookmakers’ underwriters were concerned about having such a potential liability on the books, so they limited MacMillan’s wager to a maximum of five pence. Still, if MacMillan’s instincts prove to be reliable, it would generate £1,000,000 ($1,440,065).

Hope springs eternal, even among Britain’s unemployed. MacMillan told The Sun in an interview, “I’m looking forward to collecting my winnings.”


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