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All households in England and Wales will participate in a Census in March 2021.  The next census will contain the question ‘What is your religion?’, which also appeared in the 2011 and 2001 surveys. While some are angered by the continued inclusion of this question on the basis that it presumes households have a faith, we here at Betfair Metaphysics are delighted, as it provides a great opportunity to continue the practice started by Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), of mixing gambling and religion: with all the philosophical fun that entails.

Prophette and Shaman were the first to market their metaphysical bookmaking concept back in 2012, providing punters with the opportunity to bet on various beliefs which were set up as a series of (horse) races, including the God Particle Maiden Fillies Hurdle and Derek and Cathy’s Leprechaun Hoopla Handicap. This featured in a number of summer festivals including several outings at Port Eliot. Port Eliot also saw the establishment of the ‘Book of Metaphysical Beliefs’ – a compendium of esoteric bets made by festival goers who made bets on anything ‘unprovable but true’. This was followed up by the Metaphysical Lottery in 2016 which was a favourite feature of the ‘How the Light Gets In’ Festival – the Hay Festival’s philosophy and music fringe event and the Supernormal Festival.

Customers were uniformly delighted and disappointed. Delighted by the concept, but disappointed that they could not actually make any money from their beliefs. With the confirmation that the ‘What is your religion’ question will again feature in 2021, all that is about to change.  Betfair Metaphysical has been established for the purpose of enabling you, the great British Public, to bet on various predicted outcomes on the religious beliefs expressed in the 2021 census. Many of the betting opportunities are just for fun, but you will also be able to bet against Bob Prophette’s predications and connect with other punters to make your own bets.

As noted above the inclusion of the question in the 2021 census is not without controversy and can be expected to lead to some puzzling but funny results. The question assumes that respondents are religious and its placement after questions about race and nationality seem to suggest that they should belive. This may significantly inflate the numbers of people the census suggests are religious, with, for example, households ticking ‘Christian’ by default, even though they are more likely to attend their local retail park on Sunday than their local church.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. While the top teams (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism) all have their own tick box, there will also be a ‘write in’ response option where people can express any other religious (or non-religious, belief) affiliation. And, because the religion question is optional and not therefore subject to the same sorts of legal censures (oh, that’s where the word comes from!) we can expect more fascinating insights into the British metaphysical psyche, such as the fact that there were 300,000+ Jedi Knights roaming the British Isles (2001) or that listening to Heavy Metal is a religious act.

This makes the Census the Grand National of all metaphysical betting opportunities as there are sure to be some surprises!

Eight bets have been created to start the gambling.  Check the form guide for details. This is based on detailed analysis from the changes to the results of the religion question between the 2001 and 2011 censuses.