Daily Insider for January 9

updated 04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 01/09/2004 10:53AM

January 9, 2004
ANTE UP
Has Britney Spears had to pay for her quickie Las Vegas wedding? Perhaps – but she's not the only one. Internet gambling site BetOnSports.com paid out more than $20,000 to members who bet the pop princess would walk down the aisle by Dec. 31, 2004. "The line opened at 20-to-1 and closed at 15-to-1," says company rep Peter Wilson. Now the Costa Rica-based site is offering more than 50 other proposition wagers on events that might happen before next New Year's Eve. Here's a sampling (Note: The number in parentheses represents payout in U.S. dollars on an initial bet of $100, so "+500" would pay out $500, etc.):

• Will Angelina Jolie remarry?
Yes (+2,000)

• Will Michael Jackson have to file for bankruptcy?
Yes (+300)

• Will Ruben Studdard become engaged to a supermodel?
Yes (+2,000)

• Will Penelope Cruz catch Tom Cruise cheating on her?
Yes (+1,000)

• Will Jennifer Lopez become pregnant?
Yes (Even odds)

Of course, the Daily Insider is not advocating gambling, which is illegal in most states. Just ask fallen baseball great Pete Rose, who was thrown out of Major League Baseball in 1989 for betting on the sport. Incidentally, now that Rose has admitted to his wrongdoing, the site is offering 3-1 odds that he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the end of 2005. ...

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
There's no confusing Jason Alexander, Britney Spears's husband for a minute, with the older, balder Jason Alexander, who played the bewildered sidekick George Costanza on Seinfeld. And the young Mr. Alexander's friend and adviser Michael Jackson (who was a running back for the Baltimore Ravens) bears no resemblance to the embattled singer of the same name. Now, for another identity twist: Guess who's stepping in to help the non-pop-star Jackson and the non-Seinfeld Alexander? A non-singing, non-movie star Louisiana attorney named Vanessa Williams.

BECOMING AN IDOL
American Idol judge and record producer Randy Jackson didn't know it at the time, but he had a bit of foreshadowing of his talent-spotting future way back in 1989, as he recalls in his forthcoming book, What's Up, Dawg (written with PEOPLE correspondent KC Baker). He was producing in San Francisco (working with such stars as Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston) when he was presented with a demo tape. "We played the cassette and couldn't believe what we were hearing," writes Jackson. The singer "had the kind of voice that commands you to listen to the end of a song because you just can't turn it off. ... There was no doubt in my mind. She was going to be a star." The singer? Mariah Carey. Jackson's book hits store shelves Jan. 12.

Written by: SEAN DALY
Reported by: SEAN DALY, KC BAKER and GABRIELLE COSGRIFF

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