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5 Unusual Ways to Gamble Online

Daryl Paranada
April 27, 2014

Flickr source

Online gambling enthusiasts might need to find a new way to get their betting fix with lawmakers pushing for a ban. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) recently introduced a bill banning all forms of Internet gambling.

Online gambling is a $33 billion market, with $3 billion coming from illegal bets made by Americans, according to the American Gaming Association. From the late '90s until 2006, online gambling was largely accepted in the U.S. That year, Congress passed a law making it illegal for gambling companies to accept bets online for unlawful transactions. But in 2011, the Justice Department ruled that only sports bets were unlawful. States like New Jersey began to take advantage by opening their doors to online gambling companies. Now, lawmakers are once again considering a ban.

While Congress considers the future of online gambling, consumers with the desire to make bets and predict the future can roll the dice with less conventional options. Think you can predict who Prince Harry will marry? Or how about how much money the next "Spider-Man" movie is going to garner? If gambling is more of your style, maybe you can "buy" celebrities like Justin Timberlake or a Brad Pitt?

These days, you really can bet on anything. Here are five examples of unusual topics you can bet on:

1. Celebrities
It might not be unusual to bet on the things that stars do — like when they might get married or have a baby — but what about gambling on the actual celebrities? A new game lets you to do just that.

HollyStock allows players to compete against each other to create a valuable portfolio of celebrities, who increase or decrease in value each time they're mentioned on specific websites. Players can buy or sell celebrities on the HollyStock Exchange, but only one player can own a celebrity at a time. Anyone can play for free, but players have the option to compete against other players for real money (except in a handful of states).

2. Novelty news
The Irish betting site Paddy Power allows you to place novelty bets on a number of unusual topics, including a whole section devoted to the Royal Family. Betting topics include the year Prince William and Kate Middleton will have their second child, its sex, what his or her name will be, and the next royal to have a child.

If you're not up for betting on the royals, you can take your chances by placing a bet on which animal will be cloned next or when alien life will be proven. The site also lets you bet on sports, politics, and current affairs.

3. Movie earnings
If betting on entertainment is more up your alley, the website Media Predict allows you to be on media. You can bet on topics like how much "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will gross for its North American opening weekend. Current odds say about $97 million. The site says if you're good at predicting, it will give you cash to use at its real-money site.

4. Bitcoin
What do you think the price of Bitcoin will be on April 30th? The website Predictious allows people to bet on a variety of topics — from sports to politics to economics and entertainment.

Recently, users of Predictious bet on which film was likely to win the Best Picture Oscar and whether the U.S. would win the most medals in Sochi. But the site is perhaps best known for allowing its users to utilize Bitcoin to make predictions — which has let the site transfer money in a