Why You Can No Longer Bet On Great British Bake Off Winner

Why You Can No Longer Bet On Great British Bake Off Winner
© PA
Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has been a mainstay on the show from the start

In 2015 Ladbrokes prescribed to the theory ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ by blowing the lid off an orchestrated betting coup on the hugely popular Great British Bake Off TV show, which was then broadcast on the BBC and attracted an audience of over 12.5 million viewers per-episode.

Unlike many talent shows, such as Dancing on Ice and Strictly Come Dancing, Bake Off does not have its final broadcast live. So then, as now, the nail-biting Great British Bake Off decider is a part-baked affair, a pre-recorded production which has been in the proverbial ‘can’ for weeks and sometimes months.

Thankfully, those millions of armchair viewers have no idea who has prevailed, ‘only’ the victor, their family members, losing finalists, the show’s producers, directors, presenters, cameramen, set builders, make-up artists, editors, the fabled ‘grips man’ and a few dozen more staff are privy to this ‘inside information’.

42 Punters Piled On

Nevertheless, despite the race being over and enough people witnessing the result to be of concern, in 2015 Ladbrokes were content to offer a full betting market on the result of the pre-recorded cooking contest.

Some would describe it as pure ignorance, others stupidity, but while they duly – and some would say rightfully – got stung, they managed to attain plenty of valuable media coverage for themselves.

On the eve of the televised final the bookmaker proudly told the media they had taken 529 wagers on Nadiya Hussain (the eventual champion) via 42 newly-opened accounts which could, for the most part, be linked to employees of the BBC or Love Productions, the show’s production company.

Their liabilities and eventual loss was reported to be £10,000 – barely a full-stop on their balance sheet and a lot less than the column inches this ‘story’ would have cost to have purchased as part of traditional marketing.

No More Bets, Please

Ladbrokes no longer offer specials betting markets on pre-recorded TV shows. Some firms, like William Hill, give the media odds on who they think will win shows of this ilk but they are described as “illustrative” meaning viewers cannot actually place bets.

No one knows the winner of the eleventh series of the GBBO as it has not yet been fully filmed let alone broadcast.

Filming normally takes place in April in time for the first show to air in late August. For obvious reasons that didn’t happen this year as the coronavirus pandemic has caused disruption to almost all such talent shows.

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