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Survivor: The Amazon – Betting Scandal Reveals Possible Final Twoby David Bloomberg -- 04/07/2003
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You may have heard that there has been a betting “scandal” relating to Survivor in recent days. Let’s take a look at some of the details and, while we’re at it, see if we can figure out how likely it all is.
BoDog Sportsbook & Casino, an online gambling site based in Costa Rica, is one of many places where people have been able to bet on the outcome of Survivor. This has always been a bit of a strange thing in my opinion, since the game itself is already over and there are definitely people out there who know the results – or at least have a pretty good idea. You can limit the number of people, but you can never eliminate it, and I have wondered how long it would be before we heard a story that some production assistant or, indeed, contestant, worked out a deal with some friend to make a large wager.
It looks like that time might be now. Then again, it might not.
BoDog shut down their betting on the Survivor: The Amazon winner last week upon finding out that a number of CBS employees were betting on it. Uh oh. That’s a bad sign to begin with. The site revealed that the two to four players (reports vary) in question opened their accounts before Survivor: Marquesas and have only wagered on the outcome of Survivor. Then all bet the maximum amount allowed, all on the same two contestants, which turned out to be the finalists each time. So they might not have known the winner, but they apparently did know the final two and were still assured of a big payout each time by betting in this fashion (the odds obviously were greater than 2:1). This apparently came to the attention of BoDog’s security department, who attempted to contact the players about whether they were all voting together – the site’s rules forbid doing so. They also forbid betting on something when you already know the outcome, though it’s hard to imagine when this would occur other than in something like Survivor.
The site determined that at least one of the players worked in a production role for CBS. Their first check appears to have come from using a search engine to look for their names – which connected them to CBS. Apparently they have better background checkers than Fox.
The site suspended betting on Survivor because the four involved here apparently skewed the odds to the point that other people were not betting. And just who were those odds skewed towards?
Matthew and Jenna.
So, does this mean we know who the final two are? Or are we being suckered again?
There is other evidence at work. An early spoiler from somebody who had supposedly been in the Amazon at around this time identified Jenna as one of the finalists and said the second was a guy who was less-well-liked. That could certainly be Matt, though right now it’s difficult to see how he could make it that far. Hey, turnarounds happen – who could have predicted that Vecepia would win in the Marquesas? Still, we have to ask the question – does this evidence support the claim, or might it in fact have been the source all along? In other words, do these people betting know who the final two actually are or did they look at the same spoiler information and make their decision that way?
The fact that they hit the final two dead-on for the previous two seasons does seem to indicate that they have inside information. While CBS is not commenting on what might happen, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. If these allegations are true, they could find themselves fired and even sued. But, really, that’s their problem, not ours. We need to look at whether or not we will actually be seeing Matthew and Jenna in the final two.
While I generally do not trust any of the conspiracy theories we see surrounding Survivor (or American Idol, or other similar shows), and while it is true that CBS spokesman Chris Ender said in response to all of this, “Only The X-Files has more conspiracy theories than Survivor,” I have to say it would have taken a hell of a set-up to make this one look real. Looking back, we’ve seen things like the missing red “x” on Gervase on a website photo taken to mean he would win. We’ve heard leaks that turn out not to be true. But if somebody were trying to lead viewers astray here, they would have had to plan for over a year and risk legal action by betting on something they knew the results of. All for what? To make some of us think that Jenna and Matthew would be advancing? Sorry, but I doubt it.
It seems to me that the likelihood is that we will indeed be seeing Matt and Jenna in the final two. If the participants in the betting hadn’t been successful for two straight seasons, I would have more doubts. But it seems the only way reason they’d be wrong this time is if they received faulty information – unlikely, at best.
Still, not all locations are closing betting on Survivor. Intertops.com has announced that they are keeping the betting open. Indeed, because of the “heavy action” on Matt and Jenna, the company says, they have created new bets about them. For example, they have specific bets on which of them will survive the longest, who will survive without Jenna and Matt, and whether the winner will be male or female.
For their part, BoDog does plan to offer betting again on the next edition of Survivor, but they promise to look more carefully at the wagers. However, as I said above, it’s only a matter of time. Insiders may have struck once, but they will likely strike again. In fact, I’d bet on it.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at email@example.com.
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