Gamblers betting on whether hospital patients will live or die

[quote] Death gambling market worth more than £20million pounds in Taichun
Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff also take part in the macabre trend
Some pots are reported to have run to more than £1million

A macabre new gambling trend is starting to gather pace in Taiwan where bets are being placed on the life expectancy of sick patients.

Worth more than £20million ($30m) the death gambling market in the town of Taichun is allowing people to wager a bet on when the old, the cancer-ridden and terminally-ill will die.

The craze is not just restricted to ghoulish gamblers - bets have also been placed by doctors, nurses and other hospital staff as well as families and guardians.

According to local media some 60 so-called ‘senior citizens clubs’ are in place posing as charitable organisations for the elderly.

Gamblers who want to take part in betting on the unwitting human roulette wheels have to pay a membership fee of NT$2,000 (£43) to the bookies, according to The Mirror.

The bookies then visit hospitals, do a round to survey possible bets and then seek permission from the patients’ family.

Then they take the punters to the hospital on their next visit to observe the patients.

According to the rules, the bookies win if the cancer patients die within a month.

However, if they die between one and six months after the bets were placed, the gamblers would be paid three times their wager.

Some pots are reported to have run to more than £1million.

The Times reported that some families agree to take part to pay for funeral costs.

Police are said to be investigating the practice and the legal implications.

In some cases families are thought to have been offered special bonuses by organisers if they instruct doctors to withhold life-prolonging treatments.[/quote]

dailymail.co.uk/news/article … z2HQo0rIfX

Awesome, albeit with intense ethical implications.
Not exactly a fair playing field though if there are side-bets from the bookies to the families to withhold life-extending treatment :s.

It’s certainly crass, but is it actually illegal? I’m not sure about the legality of gambling generally, but if it’s legal to bet on other things, then this should be legal also.

Does not compute :neutral:

All the serious Chinese gamblers I have met are fanatically superstitious and would never risk bad luck by betting on death.

There are certainly conflicts of interest in allowing medical staff to be involved in the betting.

[quote=“monkey”]Does not compute :neutral:

All the serious Chinese gamblers I have met are fanatically superstitious and would never risk bad luck by betting on death.[/quote]
Quite so. I don’t believe the story, which is suspiciously short on detail.

Sounds like BS.

Local news have been on this matter for weeks. Very shady, though.

So, what are the odds on Chen Shui Bian? Might get a little action going here. Could be a nice little earner.

I call BS too.

Reminds me of this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viatical_settlement but more crass.

Are the medical professionals’ wagers handicapped at all? Seems like they have an unfair advantage otherwise.

Here’s a Taipei Times article on it: taipeitimes.com/News/front/a … 2003552175

Edited to add:

This is a cache of what appears to be a reprint of Next Media article on it (in Chinese, about one third of the way down the page).

Here’s an ETtoday article on it (in Chinese): ettoday.net/news/20130102/147473.htm

A couple more details here:

planetivy.com/news/19806/death-g … tting-ring

You would think there would be something else to bet on. This paragraph does kind of have the ring of “it’s true” to it though.

[quote]A staff member at one of the suspected organizations contacted by China Television Co (中視) denied that it was a front for a betting station and said the magazine’s report was exaggerated.

He said the group helped poor families pay for funerals that they would otherwise be unable to afford.[/quote]

The punters win when the patient outlives the prediction, so could there be some kind of feeling of karma attached to the wager? The doctors and bookies can say that they’re helping the families. Quasi religious kind of stuff? If the doctor could reliably predict the outcome it would work from the bookies’ standpoint. A little “helping hand” could be slipped in there if it seemed warranted I guess. Hard to believe a doctor would get mixed up in something like that. Scary shit if true.

I wonder if there’s some place where the participants go to keep abreast of things, such as a room with a monitor screen displaying electronically transmitted information to let them know how the patients are doing–you know, analogous to an electronic display of stock or futures prices. I can picture a bunch of folks sitting on benches in a room, staring up at a screen, and someone occasionally shouting, “Jiāyóu, Yánluówáng! Baby needs a new pair of shoes!”

There’s a thread in the Taiwan Politics forum entitled “what’s the worst that can happen if you stop reading Taiwan news? (for weeks, months, or even years).” Well, I would say that the worst that can happen is that one will miss out on these wonderful splashes of local color.

I am skeptical about these too. I have a few doctor friends in Taichung, and seeing their salaries I don’t think they need it.

That wouldn’t necessarily be true for two reasons:

  1. People involved in this supposed gambling ring might have living costs that exceed their incomes. People can always spend more than they earn. One obvious example, that would tie in well with the topic, is that they might have gambling debts in other areas. What’s the first thing a gambling addict does to get himself out of debt? He gambles more.

  2. People don’t necessarily even engage in gambling because of the money. Like many other (potentially) destructive activities, people may be in this kind of activity for the thrill (of breaking a taboo).

That wouldn’t necessarily be true for two reasons:

  1. People involved in this supposed gambling ring might have living costs that exceed their incomes. People can always spend more than they earn. One obvious example, that would tie in well with the topic, is that they might have gambling debts in other areas. What’s the first thing a gambling addict does to get himself out of debt? He gambles more.

  2. People don’t necessarily even engage in gambling because of the money. Like many other (potentially) destructive activities, people may be in this kind of activity for the thrill (of breaking a taboo).[/quote]

Gambling for the thrill of it? I don’t think so. There are a zillion more exciting things to gamble on. :ponder:

Waiting for an old person to pop their clogs in a hospital bed is akin to watching paint dry or waiting for a tree to grow.

Well, most doctors actually do not make that much here, especially if young and working for through NHI. There are too many doctors, too much competition. NHI does not make for a lot of profit.

And gambling, well, is an addiction, not lots of conscious thought, there is for instance sports gambling, both with NBA and local leagues results, they don’t care if loocal or international, local they can influence, international they hardly understand. Yes, they can bet on anything else you can think of. I am surprised dog fights and cock fights are not that popular here -too evident, maybe, or too macho for teh culture here, well, at least as far as I know. Talking about culture, betting is way too ingrained in Chinese culture -one of teh firts things Overseas Chinese do abroad is bet/gamble at casinos/etc get organizaed in such manner. But betting over old people kicking teh bucket, that is a new low, and against all cultural taboos -death, respect the elderly. It is very telling on where priorities are being placed -money over ancestors. Disgusting.

That wouldn’t necessarily be true for two reasons:

  1. People involved in this supposed gambling ring might have living costs that exceed their incomes. People can always spend more than they earn. One obvious example, that would tie in well with the topic, is that they might have gambling debts in other areas. What’s the first thing a gambling addict does to get himself out of debt? He gambles more.

  2. People don’t necessarily even engage in gambling because of the money. Like many other (potentially) destructive activities, people may be in this kind of activity for the thrill (of breaking a taboo).[/quote]

Gambling for the thrill of it? I don’t think so. There are a zillion more exciting things to gamble on. :ponder:

Waiting for an old person to pop their clogs in a hospital bed is akin to watching paint dry or waiting for a tree to grow.[/quote]

Sure, to you and to me, but maybe not to others. Just playing devil’s advocate.

Plenty of gambling addicts do it for the thrill.
I used to share a house with a guy back home who was a degenerate gambling addict.

He loved to feed the ponies.
He used to openly admit he did it for the rush.
He did not need the money even after pissing away half his salary on the horses.