Gambling on outcomes in the video game industry is a popular pastime for some, as the recent interest in Xbox 360 shipments
and Christmas game sales in the UK
prove. The latest potentiality to inspire a betting craze is the identity of the cover athlete for Electronic Arts' Madden NFL 2007
; WagerWeb.com, an offshore gambling firm based in Costa Rica, is taking bets on the next football star to appear on a Madden
cover, as well as whether or not said athlete will be struck by the so-called "Madden Curse."
So far, the favorite by 1:2 is Indiana quarterback Peyton Manning, trailed by Carson Palmer at 2:1, Shaun Alexander at 4:1, LaDanian Tomlinson at 5:1, and both Edgerrin James and Ben Roethlisberger at 6:1. The highest payoff is Indiana defensive end Dwight Freeney, who pays at 30:1, before WagerWeb simply offers "Any other NFL player" at 3:1.
Both "yes" and "no" options to the question "Will the Player Chosen Injure Himself During the 2006-2007 NFL Season and Miss More Than One Consecutive Game?" are set at 5:6. The "Madden Curse" began when Eddie George, the first person to be featured on a Madden
cover rather than series namesake John Madden, took a performance hit following his appearance on the Madden NFL 2000
cover. Since then, only Ray Lewis has not seen his fortunes fall in some way after being selected for the cover.
"It would seem like an honor to be featured on the cover of Madden
, but with all the players seemingly having bad years or getting hurt after being on the cover, it is anything but an honor anymore," said WagerWeb.com CEO Dave Johnson on why the firm was offering the extra betting opportunity.