Back in December '07 I placed two small bets on the outcome of the presidential nomination contests. I put NOK 100 (almost $20) on Hillary (odds 1.40) and NOK 155 (appx $30) on McCain (odds 13!). The bets were placed with Bwin, a British company.
On Wednesday, the day after it had become apparent that Obama had a majority of delegates behind him, the Democratic race was "called" by Bwin, and my $20 was lost. However, I'd still not seen one dime of the money I was due for my brilliant bet on McCain. So I sent them this brief note:
"You've called the bet for the democrats, yet still haven't paid out my winnings on John McCain, who nailed the republican nomination with much greater certainty as long ago as February. What gives?"
Saturday, they came back with this pointless, formulaic answer:
"Thank you for your e-mail. We apologise for the delay in responding to your query and can confirm that in regards to the bet Who will win the Republican Party nomination? we have been informed by our book making department that the official result has not been given as yet, therefore we are unable to settle this bet. If by chance you know another verifiable source that can prove the contrary, we'll be more than happy to examine your inquiry once again. Please note that as soon as the official result has been stated this bet will be settled accordingly. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries. Kind regards, Your bwin support team."
The "verifiable source" phrase made me blow a fuse, so I immediately sent off this reply:
"You've got to be kidding. If this represents the quality of research done by your bookmaking department, I suggest you fire them all and replace them with trained monkeys. Same quality, much cheaper.
My point was and is this: You have already notified me that the issue of the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008 has been settled in favor of "another than Hillary Clinton". This judgement is 99% likely to be correct, as Barack Obama has won the public support of more than half of the voting delegates to the party's nomination meeting in Denver in August. Only a major scandal that would lead delegates to change their minds (as they can do under the party's rules) will change this. So to all intents and purposes I agree that Clinton lost the nomination, as defined by the results of the nomination process through elections, caucuses etc.
However, under that same logic John McCain MUST be said to have won the Republican nomination. He secured a majority of voting delegates to the Republican convention as early as March 4, something most people not living isolated in deep caves would know. Again, I suggest you look into the monkey proposal.
CNN from March:
CNNs updated and current delegate tally:
It is common knowledge to anyone reading newspapers that John McCain secured the Republican nomination way earlier and more securely than Obama did the Democratic one. To call the latter bet and not the former defies all logic. If you want to wait to call the bets until the nomination meetings have been held and the process formally concluded, that would be understandable and fair. But then you should use the same measuring stick for both bets and wait until August to call the Democratic nomination.
Today, shortly after noon, NOK 2,016 (appx $400) was deposited in my bwin account.