Move over “Hillsong scandal.”
Last night Today Tonight had another story sticking the boot into Australian Idol. Our current affairs shows love to run stories on the machinations of reality shows (instead of the machinations of current affairs shows). It’s commonly seen as a win / win. The show pulls in fans of the reality show which in turn gets a bit of exposure, frequently on a rival network.
TT ran a story on a supposedly huge bet being wagered on former finalist Brooke Adamo. It was wagered when she was at $15 on Centrebet, meaning she wasn’t a favourite to go. At least in Centrebet’s eyes. When Adamo went, somebody got a huge payout.
“Insider trading?” asked TT. Yeah, right. On a reality show.
It’s true that as viewers we are never privvy to what the voting results are on Idol, Dancing with the Stars (a Seven show), Big Brother and their ilk. This should have been the story, which was only fleetingly touched upon. We’re still not privvy to the charity payouts on votes from Seven’s Dancing with the Stars or It Takes Two.
Centrebet is one of several licensed bookmakers registered in the Northern Territory which runs a betting system on several entertainment programmes. As everybody knows gambling runs on a ‘risk model’, to the bookmaker and the gambler. The risk in running a book on a reality show is that there are next to no regulations or laws to cover those associated with the shows.
So should Centrebet really have been surprised that a sizeable bet was lost to “insider trading?” Doesn’t their own business model factor such losses into their profit expectations? And don’t they have the right to decline a wager? Is anybody doing an exposé on how much profit has been made by bookmakers out of viewers who participate in this stuff? Not to mention how much money networks are making from SMS votes.
The TT story, didn’t even tell us what the size of the bet was. Sort of the whole premise of the report….
Adamo also went over three weeks ago. Why has it taken so long to decide this was newsworthy?
Instead it all came across as looking like a bit of free publicity for everyone involved: Centrebet, Today Tonight, and by default, Australian Idol. Meanwhile nobody offers up any solutions as to why audited votes for reality television, including those on Seven, are not made public.
If Centrebet is genuinely concerned about fraud on the betting of its entertainment books, why don’t they just close them down?