By Beth Main
‘Death street’ in Taichung (台中), a large city in central Taiwan, has been denounced as utterly immoral by city authorities. A hundred or so bookmakers allegedly take bets on when gamblers’ elderly or infirm relatives will die.
‘Death street’ is lined with ‘senior clubs’, disguised as charitable organisations, that are actually accepting the terminal patients as stakes for bets. The families of the dying put them up for the bets in the expectation that they will get 10% of the winnings, it is therefore particularly attractive to impoverished families. Sickeningly, it also means that families put off life-prolonging treatments for their loved ones in order to cash in.
The death gambling business in Taiwan is reportedly worth over NT$1 billion (US$34.5 million). The morbid bookmakers will even let gamblers visit patients they’re betting on in order to assess their conditions, if the stakes are particularly high.
Authorities in Taichung say police are currently investigating the situation.