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Annual fixed-odds extravaganza called ‘Will it snow on Christmas Day?’ where festive mugs took ever decreasing odds on snow hitting the London weather centre over the 24 hours of December 25. Now it is a significant, if still relatively small area of business for all bookmakers—not least because betting on the Christmas number one or who killed the star of the latest Aussie soap series is an easy way to free publicity.

 

The spread firms have similarly taken on the speciality bet challenge, and the birth of reality TV game shows such as Big Brother and Pop Idol has given the markets a new lease of life. Normally for punters the markets should probably be what they are intended as—just fun. Betting on a spread index on which contestant will be the last to leave the Big Brother house or what percentage of votes from the audience a singer might get on a Saturday night is hardly scientific.

 

Interestingly, however, 2002 saw a series of betting coups on TV markets. These were often based around who would be next to be evicted from a particular game show. Bookies often saw significant bets on the outsider who would then be voted off by the public.