While the annual July 4 spectacle of the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest unfolds in all its water-soaked glory in New York, neighboring New Jerseyans will be unable to wager money on the contest. Casino.org reports the state’s gambling authority, the New Jersey Department Of Gaming Enforcement, recently ruled that the state’s sportsbooks would not be permitted to accept bets on the contest.
While you may not consider hot dog eating to be a sport in the traditional sense, New Jersey has in the past permitted betting on such non-athletic matters as the Oscars. Sports betting site Covers has the current odds; the over-under on hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes is 73.5. Last year, winner Joey Chestnut consumed 74.
The gambling authority’s ruling sparked something of a Twitter debate about the merits of betting on a hot dog eating contest, because of course it did. David Danzis, a reporter for Press Of Atlantic City, tweeted that betting on such an event is likely indication of a gambling problem. That brought out the hot-dog-contest-betting defenders, and the conversations got serious. ESPN Chalk’s gambling reporter David Payne Purdum responded: “I completely disagree and think throwing out statements like this desensitizes real problem gambling. The event one chooses to bet on is not indicative of a gambling problem.”
To recap: Gambling Twitter is now debating the merits of wagering hard-earned money on hot dog-eating contests, and I’m contemplating the mechanics of eating 73.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes. No one wins, really.