Thursday, December 21, 2006

Why Aren't Special Bets More Popular?

Back in 2003, the editor of this site - myself - stumbled across the idea of betting on Big Brother. I found that, just like the stock market I knew, I could back and lay (buy and sell) contestants instead of stocks.

I thought that was pretty cool. Reality TV was more fun than the equity market.

Much later, to celebrate the new gambling opportunity I started this website.

Pondering whether Big Brother's Science was more popular than Maxwell or whether Carol Thatcher could capture the ITV audience's favour or whether Ming Campbell could defeat Chris Huhne was far more intriguing for me than Intel's latest quarter or wondering whether Astra Zeneca was a buy or a sell. I wanted to tell the world about these markets. I believed we were on the cusp of a series of events that could rival soccer or horse racing in terms of interest in people pitting their wits and views against one another.

However, a few years down the line, not very much has changed from where I'm sitting.

Betting volumes on Big Brother, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, The UK General Election and The US Mid-Terms remain very modest. UK horse races that last just 5 minutes regularly trade more betting volume than Reality TV events watched by 8 million viewers and go on for weeks. Why is this so?

The UK is a nation of gamblers. The Football Pools, The National Lottery and The Grand National are events where millions of punters stake a few pounds to try to win a few more. Why don't Reality TV events garner more betting attention?

I have a number of reasons why this is so, but Specialbets are interested in your views.

Think about a few figures for a moment. If just one percent of last year's Strictly Come Dancing final's 10 million viewers exchanged their views on the winner by having a bet, there would be 100,000 people participating in betting on the show - an enormous number.

How can those of us interested in these events attract others? We're regularly surprised by the modest interest in Specials markets. We'd love to hear your feedback. email us feedback@specialbets.com or even better, post in the comments section.

Ramble over, Happy Christmas.

Special Bets.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Nick Edwards said...

The main reason I think is the fact that the majority of betters are male, middle-aged, straight men - the last thing they'd be interested in is who's going to be the winner of Big Brother?

Most people that bet, always bet on things they find INTERESTING, with the exception of professional betters, who bet on things that will make them money.

That's the reason, IMO.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Admin said...

But what about politics markets Nick?
Betfair's UK general election volume is less than most group one horse races. Politicians are often male, middle aged and occasionally straight as you mention. Is it just that that group isn't interested in betting with their money and see gambling as "just for mugs" ?

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Tom Ainsworth said...

The problem with many political bets is they can take so long to be settled. You lose much of the gambler's buzz of excitement as a result, plus you have to tie up your stake for years at a time.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

tom, I think that's one of the key points. We need to bring back short term political markets like "next cabinet minister to leave" or binary bets such as "will blunkett resign in June - yes/no"

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Nick Edwards said...

It may be the same with choosing a winner on Big Brother, 3 months in advance, mightn't it?

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be popular , you need layers and bettors.
At the moment there are not enough layers to make special bets popular.
The next question is Why aren't there more layers?
This is a easy question to answer
If layers were 'winning' they would carry on laying
Special bets aren't random enough(especially BB) for layers to lay all the runners as they could in a dog race.I imagine that the layers only manage to lay a few runners and these runners tend to win, thus discouraging layers from laying in the future

10:21 AM  
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