Betting on Canadian CEOs

Online site Betfair this month introduced wagering on the fates of CEOs of nine troubled companies…

CEO wagering is legal in the United Kingdom but is not available because the Brits are bored by the prospects of CEOs getting sacked, says Jordan Ferguson, Betfair’s head of international sales.

Brits use Betfair to wager on everything from snooker to U.S. football, but the only gamblers interested in CEOs are North American, and U.S. laws make Betfair restricted to Canada, Ferguson says.

Betfair does not back wagers but acts as a middleman for customers wishing to take different sides of a bet. Betfair’s revenue comes from keeping 2% to 5% of the winning bet, Ferguson said.

Volume has been light. Less than $100,000 was wagered for or against CEOs in the first two weeks, Ferguson says.

Arthur Millholland, CEO of Calgary-based oil exploration company Oilexco, has been the most likely to lose his job by April 30, 2005, according to Monday’s betting on the Betfair site. Someone who bets $10 that Millholland will still be around next spring would get about $20 if he survives.

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