Betting on weather takes off
NEW YORK - When it comes to the weather, all bets are off. Or are they?
"It's one of those things where the house always wins," says John Holden of Oklahoma State University.
Weather betting is becoming a thing and betters are doubling down.
"Weather betting is effectively like sports betting," says John Holden.
Holden is an associate professor at Oklahoma State University. He is an expert in sports policy and explains why many people are getting into the betting game.
"People will place a bet on ‘Will we have rainfall?’, or ‘How much snow will a certain place get?’, or ‘What will be the first day of snowfall?’," Holden says.
Weather betting emerged and gained popularity during the pandemic.
"When the pandemic hit and sports shut down in March, most people will remember the NCAA tournament was canceled and within a day virtually everything shut down. There was nothing to bet on. The sports world naturally shut down and sports books were looking for something to attract customers. One of the popular things that emerged was betting on Russian table tennis and another was betting on the weather," says Holden.
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How does weather betting work?
"There will be a proposition like, ‘Will there be rain on this day?’ and then individuals can select yes or no. Much like in over under betting for sports, the bookmaker sets a line where the total points can either go over or under and the better selects which will occur."
Betting laws are strict in the U.S. and at the moment, weather betting is not regulated. However, it is allowed in places like Canada where sportsbooks are taking bets on the weather.
Weather influences the gambling industry in another way.
"If there is a sport, and it's outside, I forecast for it," says Kevin Roth of Rotogrinders.com.
Kevin Roth is a Sports Meteorologist with RotoGrinders.com, a daily fantasy sports community that gives betters information on what sports bets to play and how to play them.
"While not every game is going to have a big impact from the weather, before you place every bet you should know what kind of weather you're getting for that game," says Roth.
Roth provides forecasts for a variety of sports events that betters can use to determine their wagers.
"There's of course rainouts, which you don't get in most other sports," Roth says. "In baseball, you can get games completely wiped away...you can have rain approaching in the 5th inning and it can delay the game or end the game early."
According to Roth, winds can also blow a bet.
"Are those winds blowing out to center to help carry a home run ball? Are the winds blowing in to suppress home runs?" Roth says.
And then there's temperature.
"If it's 90 degrees, the atmosphere column is stretched...that's very thin air when it's hot like that and the ball carries a lot farther," Roth says. "If it's 40 degrees, and you hit it just as far, that cold dense air keeps the ball from leaving the ballpark and really decreases the home runs."
This was noticeable last summer when New York Yankees' Aaron Judge racked up many home runs to eventually break the American League's home run record.
Golf is an all-day event whereby players tee off at different times. It is important to know what the winds are doing, and when your preferred golfer is teeing off.
Even good weather can have an impact. While a sunny day may seem ideal, it can actually make a course harder for golfers to play.
"If you get a beautiful sunny day, well that actually dries out the course and makes it play faster, it makes it harder," Roth says. "Whereas, if you get some rain in the morning or it's cloudy and overcast, that softens up the course. It makes for easier putting and approach shots."
So whether you're betting on the forecast or using a forecast to place your bet, one thing is for sure, the weather is always a gamble!