Has the winner of the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament been leaked? After bets in offshore sportsbooks started swaying toward one competitor in particular, betting was suddenly halted, leading bookmakers on the receiving end of those bets convinced there was a leak on the outcome of the tournament.
ESPN reports that three weeks ago, in the days after the tournament was taped, a flurry of bets showed up on one contestant, who ESPN did not name as to avoid spoiling the outcome.
The kind of bets made on Contestant X is unknown, which means they could be winners or losers. But the increase was significant enough for multiple sportsbooks to decide to take the odds off the board.
"When a result comes across, we all like to know it at the same time," John Aiello, a veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker who now works for DraftKings, told ESPN. "That's kind of important to betting."
But other offshore bookmakers are undeterred from taking bets on pre-recorded, rehearsed or scripted events (while others avoid it due to the risky nature of some people knowing the outcome before others). For example, some offer action on Game of Thrones character deaths to Super Bowl halftime show performances to predetermined WWE events. ESPN reports that the betting market has a way of finding out what happens no matter how few people are actually in the loop.
In the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament, Jeopardy! record-holders Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter compete in a best of seven-style tournament for the GOAT title and the $1 million prize. The tournament taped in December but didn't start airing until this Tuesday.
A week after taping began on Dec. 10, word of the alleged winner began to spread in the betting community, with bookmakers starting to get suspicious when customers began betting as if they knew who had won. On Dec. 19, prominent offshore sportsbook Pinnacle took two $500-limit bets on Contestant X from the same account. The next day, three more max bets on Contestant X were placed from the same account, and Pinnacle took the odds off the board, ESPN reports.
Pinnacle's trading director Marco Blume told the outlet that he was "pretty sure at this stage that [the bettor] knew what was happening."
A few days later, on Dec. 23, a Panama-based BetOnline.com announced that the sportsbook was closing the market on the GOAT tournament, citing "some irregular betting patterns."
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless