What Are the Odds That Banksy Is Jeff Koons? Sports Betting Websites Are Taking Bids on the Elusive Street Artist’s Real Identity

The artist is currently facing a lawsuit that could unmask him.

A person photographs a mural created by British artist Banksy entitled "Aachoo!!" showing a woman wearing a headscarf sneezing and dropping their handbag and cane, in Bristol. Photo by Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images.

Sports betting websites are taking bets on the identity of anonymous street artist Banksy, who is facing a lawsuit filed by a British greeting card company that could force him to reveal himself.

Full Colour Black, the greeting card company, and its owner Andrew Gallagher have filed a libel claim against Banksy in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court over an Instagram post the British artist made in November 2022.

The existence of the lawsuit was first reported by the Daily Mail, which has sought to out Banksy as a man named Robin Gunningham, though no new evidence of his possible identity was provided and the outlet acknowledged his identity has never been confirmed (previously, scientists have used geographic profiling, analyzing patterns in street-art activity in London and Bristol, to “tag” Gunningham as the most likely candidate).

Aaron Wood, the lawyer for Full Colour Black, provided a copy of the claim to Artnet News, which does not name Gunningham as a defendant. However, Wood had not responded to questions confirming Gunningham is not Banksy by press time.

Given the new surge of questions around Banky’s identity, BetOnline, an online poker and gaming platform headquartered in Antigua and Barbuda, is now running bets on who the artist might be with an end date of November 30. A platform called BetUS is also running bets.

Gamblers can put money on whether they think Gallagher will win the case against Pest Control, the organization that authenticates Banksy’s work, by June 1, 2024. At this time, Gallagher is not favored to win the lawsuit. Gunningham is also not favored to be confirmed as Banksy by that date.

However, if Banksy is unmasked, Robin Gunningham is the favored candidate. Massive Attack frontman Robert Del Naja, who is a graffiti artist and one-time member of the collective Wild Bunch from Bristol where Banksy is from, is also a top candidate.

In 2017, DJ Goldie may have accidentally revealed Del Naja as Banksy in an interview with Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces podcast. However, Goldie later appeared to dismiss the rumors in a tweet saying that he and Del Naja had laughed about it on the phone. No other evidence has emerged that could establish Del Naja as Banksy.

Del Naja was given the same odds as Joy Millward, a lobbyist in Britain whom the Daily Mail reported is married to Gunningham. Wood himself, the lawyer for Full Colour Black, was also given odds as a possibility of being the artist, just below Del Naja.

The long list of candidates includes printmaker Stanley Donwood, the long-time Radiohead collaborator who recently opened a London exhibition with the band’s frontman Thom Yorke, as well as artists Jeff Koons, David Hockney. and Damien Hirst. Real long shots include Tom Brady and Donald Trump, ranked at the bottom of the list.

Gambling sites have tried to take advantage of speculations around Banksy’s identity for at least two years, running bets since as far back as 2021 that he would finally be unmasked. That year, WalesOnline reported that the Irish betting platform Paddy Power had priced the artist at 25/1 odds to be revealed as early as August 2021.

At the time, Paddy Power also set 5/2 odds that Gunningham would be revealed as and 7/2 odds that Banksy could be unveiled as female. Other possible names Paddy Power listed at the time include Del Naja, with 5/1 odds.

Another top name Paddy Wagon listed at the time with 8/1 odds was Jamie Hewlett, the cartoonist and co-creator of the band Gorillaz with Damon Albarn. Hewlett also made the list of candidates at BetOnline.

 

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