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The Daily Mirror describes it as “the sickest bet in the world.” And that’s an apt description.

Bookies in Taiwan are now setting odds and taking bets on when terminally ill cancer patients will die.

They gather details on a patient’s condition. They visit the hospital. They talk with the family. And they set a line. Before you bet, you can also visit the patient in the hospital.

Generally, here’s how the betting works:  If the patient dies within a month, the bettor loses. If the patient dies between 1 and 6 months, the bettor is paid 3x their wager. If the patient dies after 6 months, the payout is decreased and if the patient lives a year or more, the bettor loses the entire bet.

And yes, you can even parlay multiple cancer patients. 

This must be some sick novelty offered by one or two bookies, you’re probably thinking. Well, it’s bigger than that. According to the Daily Mirror’s investigation, there is an estimated 130-160 cancer bookies who handle $60-$70 million in betting action. Bets are as small as $60 and as big as $325,000.

In conversations with reporters, one cancer bookie shared some details on who is making bets on terminally ill patients:

In a bizarre twist, he revealed sufferers’ families receive 10 per cent of returns on all winning bets to ease the punters’ consciences.

Ho claimed his customers included victims’ relatives, ­police and doctors.

He said: “Originally, we brought them in for expert opinion on how ­people’s cancer was progressing.

“But once they realised how much they could make, they started betting themselves.”

Life insurance agents are also involved, recommending the names of policy holders who have fallen ill.

Of course, this sort of betting seems susceptible to the worst imaginable kind of manipulation: doctors profiting from the death of their patients. And, according to one report, “doctors have been accused of cashing in by placing bets on their own patients then withdrawing treatment to “fix” deaths.” 

Reportedly, Taiwanese police are investigating this growing cancer betting industry.

 

 

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