Edward Snowden, the American contractor who leaked details of a top-secret National Security Agency data mining operation, is languishing in a Russian airport, his destination unknown.
Will he go to Cuba? To Iceland? To Ecuador? Be whisked away to a secret location by Navy SEALs?
That uncertainty, and the breadth of available choices, makes guessing — and betting — on where Snowden will ultimately seek asylum the perfect event on which to gamble, according to Irish odds maker Paddy Power.
The gambling website, one of the largest in the world, is setting odds and taking bets on where Snowden ends up.
For now, the site is putting the odds at 1:4 that he goes to Ecuador, a country that has already agreed to grant him refugee status, and which is harboring Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in its London Embassy.
The odds that Snowden flees to Iceland, a country known for defending privacy rights on the Internet but which has an extradition treaty with the U.S., are currently set at 3:1.
If Snowden goes Cuba, punters can expect payouts of 10:1, the same odds if he stays in Russia.
Paddy Power, based in Ireland and the U.K., cannot accept bets from the U.S., where such gambling is illegal.
A handful of people have placed a few hundred dollars on bets, Paddy Power spokesman Feilim Mac An Iomaire told ABC News.com.
“The Snowden market isn’t exactly the World Cup finals,” Mac An Iomaire said, but the site wants to offer “something for everyone.”
“Not everyone has a huge interest in sport, but that doesn’t mean they can’t put their money where their mouth is,” he said.
For now, Snowden is a man without a country. He arrived in Russia this week after fleeing Hong Kong. With his U.S. passport revoked, Snowden can’t cross international borders and for now must wait in the transit area of a Moscow airport.