Why are we allowed to #bet on already concluded #events?

Recently I posted on the probability of David Cameron leaving Downing Street over the  Panama papers scandal. I suggested a more accurate way of looking at probability was to see who was putting money on it.

What is alarming is the other games on the betting sites….

For a Man Who Doesn’t Like Sport……

….I’ve worked on a lot of sporting themed stuff. My first internet job was in 1997 working at PA/Sporting Life on the website. I learned Perl on the back of a KitKat wrapper, I worked on one of the first digital pools coupons and I also worked on the very first online betting site, BetOnline.

The team were into horses, some owned them, some knew the finer detail of the numbers of the sport and I’d say 95% of them had betting accounts. I didn’t bet, just wasn’t in my nature too and to be honest it still isn’t.

Later I worked with SportsFusion working on a bunch of sites including prediction markets, I learned way too much about PIN machines.

Guessing Stuff

Is a certain outcome going to happen? That’s it in a nutshell.

The Slots

Random chance like slot machines add to the excitement (if you like that kinda thing). The old slot machines could be calculated with a degree of certainty. Three rings, ten pictures on a ring, so the odds of the jackpot were going to be 103, basically 1 in 1000. Even with the 0.1% chance of that event happening it does limit the payout a company would put it.

To make it more exciting, just add more pictures to the reels. They did and upped it to 22 thus making it a 0.01% chance. Still not exciting enough for some I’m sure.

Things changed in the digital revolution with the introduction of random number generators the odds became less and less. In certain countries there is a percentage of funds a machine has to pay out but it’s still less certain than the old mechanical slots.

Sports Betting

Regardless of whether it’s horses, greyhounds, football (or any form of Sportsball for that matter) you can bet on an outcome.  Fixed odds is fairly normal and there’s also Parimutuel betting where all the money for the bet is pooled together and is then split against the number of people who picked the correct outcome.

You can bet on just about anything now, politics, fantasy sports, digital virtual sports and television programmes. And it’s the last one that is open to certain amounts of abuse.

The Great British Bet Off

So when a tv show kicks off a new series and there’s a competitive element then the bookies will very quickly have a market open for it. All very well if it’s live but I still don’t think it’s a good idea. Recorded programmes, like The Great British Bake Off, are made by production companies and broadcast by other companies, so guess what, they already know the outcome but can still bet on it.

It looks bad when the production company, allegedly, starts opening up betting accounts and betting on the winner.

Would you bet on a drama? Why would you bet on a drama? Who’s going to get bumped off on Game of Thrones, yup there’s a market for that too.

Just seems to me that if something’s already recorded with an outcome then all bets are off, someone somewhere knows the outcome and therefore it’s not really a random outcome.

Minor rant over…..


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