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Bet on Xmas goat's fate.

The small Swedish town of Gavle will once again erect its giant straw goat to mark the start of the festive season. For the past forty years, this goat has represented a rather unusual element to Christmas celebrations, as the aim is for members of the public to destroy the goat by whatever means possible. Since 1966, vandals have attempted to destroy the goat, which is where this tradition originated. Now online gambling site,, is allowing people to bet on whether the giant goat of Gavle will survive through Christmas Day.

The tradition goes that vandals attempt to destroy the forty-three foot high goat usually within days of its creation, with arson being the preferred method, and only 10 times, since 1966 has the goat survived intact through Christmas Day. Last year saw two culprits dressed as Father Christmas and a gingerbread man got close enough to the goat to burn it down using flaming arrows. believes that the goat will burn despite the constructor's claim that this year's goat is completely fireproof.

‘Each year the town of Gavle erects an enormous goat to celebrate the festive season, which commences the battle between vandals trying to destroy the structure and those protecting the goat,’ said Simon Noble of ‘Despite coating this year's straw statue in a waterproof, flame-retardant coating, odds are the goat will go up in smoke before Christmas again this year.’ has listed odds of the goat's demise prior to Christmas Day as a 2/3 favourite. Meanwhile, the odds that the statue will remain unharmed are a slight underdog at 7/5.

If the goat is destroyed before the stroke of midnight (Central European Time), then the bet pay off, if however, the remains erect, it is deemed happy, healthy, and lasting.

Stephen Holder.
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