TT accuses Idol of “insider trading?”

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?


  1. Couldn’t one argue that these SMS voting shows equate to a ‘lottery’. Every one voting – spending their money to buy an SMS ‘ticket’ – is ‘gambling’ on their favourite getting through. Therefore, shouldn’t these be governed by some State’s Lottery Act and thus be open to scrutiny?

    Perhaps then we’ll know for sure that the Producers aren’t ‘fiddling’ the results for ratings and recording profit outcomes!

  2. No one is making huge money off reality shows other than the bookmaker and the station running the show. The bookmakers all have limits on the maximum amount that can be wagered on these events to stop this very problem from occurring. They would also shut down betting immediately if they suspected unusual betting patterns. If there was a real issue here bookmakers would stop offering odds on these events altogether but we know why they don’t.

  3. This story ran in the press the week after Brooke was eliminated. Apparently her father was not going to rest until an inquiry occurred.

    Did TT present it as a scoop? Still not as good as last year ‘s Idol Hillsong voting conspiracy they managed to milk that story for awhile.

    By the way love your website.

  4. and the questions still remained unanswered.

    Who gets what money from phone line voting ?
    Who monitors the votes and how many people at TV stations/production companies know the ongoing toals during voting period. ?

    Who owns/ has shares in these voting phone line companies ?

    As has been proved time and time again overseas (and no doubt has happened here), sometimes the production company/tv network just picks their own winners regardless of so called public voting.

  5. you have raised some great points David…it made more sense than the TT story itself… maybe TT held off on a betting story because it may have been more credible for a sporting man to read the intro…who knows… all the payouts and voting results should be made public and be held accountable as there are bets being placed on shows outcomes…meaning huge monies being made by someone somewhere…its like all phone polls, they should have a super saying that they received 20 thousand calls at least to get an idea on what formed the opinion or how the result was reached…. anyway as we all know its a Newtork TV money making machine…

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