In 1998, William Hill were the first bookmaker to accept wagers via the Internet, and their online betting platform is one of the most sophisticated in the market.
Hill also have a tongue-in-cheek reputation for offering odds on literally anything you can think of, and here is a compilation of our ten favourite left field bets they have accepted, and some notable payouts they have honoured:
- In April 1964, David Threlfall placed a £10 bet at odds of 1000/1 that man would walk on any planet or heavenly body before January 1970. His was the first officially recorded ‘space’ bet and the stake was equivalent to the average weekly wage at the time, worth over £170 today.
The bet led to an avalanche of wagers on the same event. Neil Armstrong duly obliged on 21st July, 1969, and Threlfall was £10,000 richer. William Hill eventually paid out over £50,000 on this event (around £860,000 today), ruing the fact that the man in the street knew more about space than they did.
- Elvis Presley related novelty bets are struck even now, almost 40 years after his ‘death’. Notably, Ciara Parkes stands to win £125,000 after the King’s next comeback following a £250 bet at 500/1 in the mid 1990’s.
Elvis also features in the biggest betting odds ever offered by Hill: A Glaswegian postman took a price of 20,000,000/1 that Elvis would crash a U.F.O. into Loch Ness, striking the legendary monster supposed to inhabit its depths. Urban myth suggests this bet was actually for Elvis to ride into town on the long lost, kidnapped racehorse ‘Shergar’, and then to play against the missing and disgraced Lord Lucan in the Wimbledon tennis final!
- Betting on the outcome of TV shows was first introduced by William Hill in 1980, when they allowed punters to wager on ‘Who shot J.R.?’ in the popular American soap, ‘Dallas’.
- Screaming Lord Sutch, the late leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, stood to make the biggest betting shop payout of all-time at a cool £15,000,000 from a £1 wager with Hill that he would one day become British Prime Minister. Sadly, the ‘loony’ never made it, much to the chagrin of us mere mortals.
- In 1988, Chris Bonnington, the famous mountaineer, bet with Hill that he would return from his Himalayan expedition with proof that the ‘Yeti’ existed. Upon his return, he claimed he had the required evidence, until the Department of Agriculture confiscated and burned it.
- In 1995, John Richardson, aged 55, struck a novelty bet with William Hill that he would father a child in the year 2040. You can do the math!
- In 2008, Fred Craggs, won an eight-horse accumulator, triggering Hill’s maximum horse racing payout clause of £1,000,000. His selections were random and Craggs had no idea he had won until he next visited the shop. Not bad for just a 50p stake at combined odds of over 2,000,000/1, and during his 60th birthday week. Bonza!
- William Hill’s penchant for bizarre proposition bets entered the World Cup 2010 arena. Odds of 7/2 were offered on any England player repeating Paul Gascoigne’s 1990 watershed moment by crying on camera at any time during the tournament.
- Euro 2012 also received the Hill treatment with 4/1 offered that the Euro currency would collapse before the end of the tournament. Eyes were on Greece not to rock the boat in either contest!
- Of course, proposition and novelty bets are usually fun and good-natured and in mid-2013, Chris Brooker cashed in odds of 6/1 to return £700 that his romance with a fellow student would outlast the duration of their university studies together.
Whatever your betting requirements, William Hill has just about every online option you can imagine but if you can think of something weird, wonderful, and original you are encouraged to contact them for consideration and pricing of your proposition. You never know, you might even get some publicity!
How about buying a funny, weird, or eclectic novelty bet from Hill for a family member, or even a colleague during the Office Secret Santa gift giving season? It would certainly create a topic for debate in the pub, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive. The choice is yours and limited only by your own imagination!