GULF SPILL:

Sports gambling site sets odds for BP containment effort

NEW YORK -- Odds are good that the massive concrete dome BP PLC is installing above its wrecked Gulf of Mexico oil well can prevent more crude from spewing into the ocean, but no more than 80 percent of the 5,000 gallons a day estimated to be escaping.

So the bookies say.

The online sports gambling website Bookmaker.com placed odds this week on how successful for unsuccessful the fix will be.

All eyes are on BP workers who have moved a 40-ton containment box to the site of the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig disaster in hopes it can stem leaking crude. If not stopped by June, the size of the spill could surpass that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

But oddsmakers at the betting site say that, at best, the company will capture less than 80 percent of the oil while the rest continues spilling into the gulf.

"That's what we designated as a favorite option to happen," Bookmaker.com CEO Mickey Richardson said.

Officials at the website have issued a rating of "+100" that the flow will be reduced by 80 percent. Otherwise, the site says that, if one were to wager on it, one could bet at "-500" that the fix will stop less than 80 percent of the leak, the greatest anticipated outcome.

"In betting terms, since it's the favorite, it's a more expensive bet to make to win more," Richardson said. "Each $5 will return $1 if this wins."

Odds are longest that BP's concrete dome will put a complete halt to the leak -- +1,000, or 10-to-1.

And the odds are 5 to 1 that BP's attempted fix will actually make the leak worse.

Normally focused on setting terms for wagers on games, Bookmaker.com has gotten attention for setting odds on offbeat topics. For example, it placed odds on what Tiger Woods would reveal about his extramarital affairs at a press conference last month, as well as on who would win the fashion-design competition on the "Project Runway" television show.