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Games’ misery a boon for bookmakers

And you thought bookmakers were only interested in cricket, football or the Derby stakes at Epsom Downs. Think again. Even the CWG are a betting novelty, according to William Hill, one of the largest bookmakers in the United Kingdom, reports Somshuvra Laha.

other Updated: Sep 27, 2010 11:10 IST
Somshuvra Laha

And you thought bookmakers were only interested in cricket, football or the Derby stakes at Epsom Downs. Think again. Even the Commonwealth Games are a betting novelty, according to William Hill, one of the largest bookmakers in the United Kingdom.

With top Commonwealth nations expressing displeasure at the way preparations have gone so far, British bookmakers are cashing in on the opportunity by taking bets on whether actually the Games would kick off on the designated date.

William Hill have slashed their odds about the Games failing to start on October 3 from 5/1 to 3/1 as “problems pile up around the event”, according to their official website.

Titled ‘You bet Commonwealth Games won't go ahead!' under the 'novelty and awards' section of the website that also places unfamiliar bets like whether the Queen would see snowfall this December, the odds were significantly reduced after the footbridge outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed on Tuesday and at least 23 people were injured, some of them critically.

“We had been quoting 5/1 that the Games would fail to start on time originally, but there has been a concerted gamble on them failing to do so over the last 48 hours, which has seen the odds cut to 3/1,” the website said after the incident.

With hygiene issues and accommodation woes too posing a roadblock to the process of getting the Games Village up and running, the bookmakers have increased the odds of the event going ahead on time from the original 1/9 to 2/9.

Hills are also offering 2/1 odds that one or more of the British nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales would officially pull out before the scheduled start. The odds of all four nations sending their teams to the Games are 4/11. Recent claims of improvement in hygiene and security, however, might play spoilsport for punters.

While Wales and Scotland have finally decided to send their teams, Northern Ireland too are scheduled to reach here on Tuesday.

With England all set to move into the Village on Monday, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee would be more than happy to finally stage a welcome ‘upset’.