Saturday, January 27, 2007
A Meta-Gambling Snag
On Tuesday morning Britain will reveal which of the seven regional finalists will be awarded the right to open Britain's first Las Vegas-style "super-casino." Greenwich, home of the Millennium Dome, is a strong contender, as is the seaside resort town of Blackpool. But perhaps you favor one of the other entries, such as Cardiff? In any event, Britain being Britain, you can wager on the outcome of the casino award. But will you get a fair shake, or have insiders polluted the pool? According to this article in the Sunday Times, there might be some shenanigans afoot:
Late on Friday the bookmaker Paddy Power was offering evens on the supercasino going to Greenwich, home of the dome, and slightly longer odds on Blackpool, wannabe Las Vegas of the north.Incidentally, one of the advantages of legal betting is that attempts to manipulate outcomes, such as occur during point-shaving scandals in sports, are easier to identify when the betting is open and regulated.
Then suddenly the bookmaker noticed a series of suspicious bets. Some customers were trying to place as much as £5,000 a time on Blackpool winning the contest.
“Normally we’d get bets of £10 or £20 on this sort of thing. We were also being asked to take bets on Greenwich losing — which is unusual,” said a Paddy Power spokesman. “Everyone was wanting to bet on Blackpool getting it and London losing.”
The bookie suspended operations briefly and rapidly changed tack, making Blackpool the odds-on favourite.