”We are disappointed. We saw (the plunge) yesterday like everyone else did. There is an assumption it might have leaked through social media.” – Australian Olympic chef de mission Nick Green.
Betting was suspended prematurely on the Olympic flagbearer market after Lauren Jackson was backed from $4.50 into $1.50 at various corporate bookmakers yesterday, before the market was quickly suspended.
Who would want to bet on such a market? Well, we wouldn’t and in reality very few do, but clearly it is a market similar to Gold Logie or Oscar winners – a 100% informational market that is easily compromised via any type of leak.
Jackson was alerted to her status as flag-bearer 4 days before the Olympics, and apparently a few (many?) athletes knew of this fact not long after Jackson was selected. This was leaked somewhere and then the punting money train began.
I wouldn’t feel sorry for bookmakers over this one. They are not the losers here in any way.
There is very little action (if any) on markets such as this, and a leak would be immediately obvious by the virtue of any decent bets coming in on one candidate. Action would be restricted as soon as you had a couple of decent bets attempted in succession – say someone wants to get on for something significant – say $1000 or more – in a market that would usually attract a handful of $10 or $20 bets at the most.
Anyone attempting to get set for more than say, $100 or so, might have their bet halved or denied completely. The price would be taken down and brought in. If a trickle of money followed, this would be all it would take for the market to shorten dramatically. By the time the whole world starts to want a piece of it, the market is suspended and a bookmaker can put himself in front of the media for some cheap publicity talking about the leak.
The similar tactic is in play when bookmakers pay out on a sure thing – such as the wooden spoon AFL betting weeks before the end of the season. Markets chosen to be prematurely paid out are generally quite un-popular, with the option that is being paid out so short by that point, that the liability is all but insignificant for the book. There is also the added benefit that paid out moneys are able to be bet again, ending up in the bookmakers coffers faster. The bookmaker then alerts the media for a sports section appearance.
Good luck anyway Lauren Jackson, a great choice to carry the flag.