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Betting on the Moon

betting on the moon

In 1964, David Threlfall wrote to respected British wagering company William Hill, asking for odds that a man would walk on the Moon within seven years. Representatives offered him astonishing odds—1,000:1. Looking back on that, we’d all wish we had a time machine and could bet a billion or so, but back then, it seemed a risky wager indeed. Just a few people had been into space, and hitting a rock and walking on it still seemed farfetched. Threlfall put £10 on the bet.

The exact wager was:

” . . . a man, woman, or child from any nation on Earth being on the Moon or any other planet, star, or heavenly body of comparable distance from the Earth before January 1971.”

As time went by, the space race progressed, and success seemed increasingly likely. Folks flocked to William Hill to get in on the action.

Offers also rolled in to buy Threlfall’s ticket for a fraction of the payoff, but he never sold early. He trusted in JFK’s promise that man would walk on the Moon by the decade’s end.

We did land on the Moon. Threlfall was in a television studio watching Armstrong live as the astronaut planted his footprint all those miles away. He received his £10,000 check on the spot.

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