The past few years have produced a number of surreal moments in U.S. politics and news coverage. Yet another milestone-of-weird has been reached with the bizarre Jussie Smollett case, an episode in which a supporting actor on the TV show Empire allegedly hired his personal trainer and a friend to dress up like Donald Trump supporters and pretend to strangle him with a noose outside a sandwich shop in Chicago at 2 AM.
Only in America.
Even once you’ve heard the story 10 times, it still looks crazy in print. But in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, Smollett is currently being sought for arrest by the Windy City police department after not only faking an ugly brawl with a pair of friends posing as urban terrorists, but also for allegedly forging and mailing a death threat to himself made out of magazine cut-outs.
Politicians eager to tie Trump to the attackers jumped into the fray with passionate pro-Jussie tweets before all of the facts were known. Since the story broke that Smollett may have faked the incident, Washington D.C. big shots – including Presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – have tried different strategies (including stone-cold silence) to mitigate their embarrassment.
That’s where Las Vegas comes in. Sensing an opportunity to capitalize on the biggest viral story of 2019 so far, betting sites such as MyBookie are posting elaborate prop-betting boards with markets based on the Smollett criminal case and surrounding circus.
Here’s a quick sampling of the Jussie Smollett betting markets at MyBookie.
Will Jussie Smollett be Fired From Empire in 2019? Yes: (+140) / No: (-200)
Gamblers seem confident that Smollett will maintain his status on the show despite what could amount to a 3-year prison sentence for at least one felony charge among other possible crimes.
Those brave speculators who are taking the “No” proposition can take heart that Smollett’s role on Empire is already being whittled down by producers, though a lack of studio hours for the African-American thespian could be a product of circumstances as he has been hiding out from the police.
As of Wednesday night, Chicago police said they are negotiating Smollett’s surrender to the authorities.
Will Jussie Smollett be Convicted of Filing a False Police Report? Yes: (+350) / No: (-700)
Once again, bettors appear to be confident that the actor will be cleared of wrongdoing and allowed to return to work. One can speculate that his police report was filled out in such a vague fashion that Smollett’s lawyers can find a way to argue its veracity.
But his legal team may have already cooked its own goose by putting out an earlier statement which implied that the alleged hate-crime was 100% genuine. There may not be much wiggle room left over.
Will Kamala Harris Retract Her Statement of Support? Yes: (+175) / No: (-250)
This is perhaps the most interesting line on the “Smollett Prop Board” at MyBookie. Harris is a front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination in 2020. Hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Facebook users hang on her every word, and Harris already sounds uncomfortable answering questions about Jussie following her prior unequivocal statement of support and encouragement to the popular gay actor.
The bookmaker is careful to word the proposition bet a certain way. “Retract” likely implies more than a simple deleted tweet. Pelosi already deleted her tweet pertaining to Smollett. Democrats appear to be biding time and waiting for the story to blow over, so there’s no telling whether Yes or No is the true “favorite” outcome when it comes to how candidate Harris will handle the news of the arrest.
Will Jussie Smollett Go to Rehab in 2019? Yes: (-140) / No: (+100)
If current affairs like this one continue to show up at betting sites, it’s the editorial staff of Bettingreporter.com who may end up in rehab before it’s all over.
Photo from Twitter.