As the world end draws near, disciples of the doomsday Mayan prophesy dash to take cover in the nearest magic mountain hunkering down with nothing more than a shotgun and a crate of strong-brew. The end is nigh, Christmas is cancelled. Thank god, no more Strictly.
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Or is it? Call us party poopers, but Paddy Power has yet to be convinced and is offering a generously optimistic 5000/1 for punters fancying a flutter that we all have less than 48 hours on this green and pleasant land.
As to how it might end - dark comets, super-volcanoes, catastrophic climate change, a plague of cancers – is still up for debate and the bookmaker will take each on its own merits should they hit before 23.59 GMT on the 21st.
In cheerier news catering for the more optimistic punter, Paddy Power is also taking bets at a slightly less generous 1/1000* that we will still be here come Saturday 22nd December. And yes, more than likely that tax return will still need filing in the New Year.
A Paddy Power spokesperson told BP: “’Cheer up. It’s not the end of the world’ may have a different meaning come Saturday morning. We’ve had a few intrepid punters place a couple of quid at 5000/1 and our insights team are currently investigating how to settle up in the hereafter should those mystical Mayans have called it right. For anyone not so sure, Paddy Power is also offering a fairly skimpy 1/1000* that the sun will rise on the 22nd. Either way, someone’s going to win.”
Having survived the Harold Camping prophecy last year the bookies are once again prepared to take bets on the fate of the world, but with a new twist as they also prepare to accomodate punters who think the world won't end which is long odds-on at 1/9999.
Those who think the Mayans are right can take 2112/1.
Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes told BP: "We thought it would only be fair to offer both options on the bet. Anyone with deep pockets who is confident the world will survive can make a few quid in time for Christmas."
He added: "We've racked up a decent liability on the world ending to our Mexican customers."
Ladbrokes latest betting
Will the world end on Friday the 21st of December?*
*Bets settled according to the state of the world at midnight on Friday the 21st of December. Ladbrokes decision final.