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Sunday 11 December 2016

It's the Great British Bets Off as bookie smells a rat

Flora Shedden
Flora Shedden
Ian Cumming

Ladbrokes said it will consider whether to allow betting on future series of the Great British Bake Off after claims that workers linked to the show were placing bets on this year's winner.

The bookmaker is investigating wagers from 42 accounts with alleged links to BBC staff and Love Productions, the company behind the hit series.

A total of 529 bets - potentially worth about £10,000 - were placed through the accounts that were created ahead of the pre-recorded final, which airs on BBC One tonight.

"We flagged at the start of the series that we thought something smelled a bit strange. We are looking into it further," said a Ladbrokes spokesman.

custard

"If we feel we've had the equivalent of a custard pie thrown in our faces we will think twice about whether we should bet on markets like this again in the future."

A BBC spokesman said: "We have no knowledge of these claims and have asked the Sun newspaper, which wrote about them, to provide us with details to be able to look into it. We are still waiting."

Bets placed on the outcome of TV events such as the Great British Bake Off are often restricted to £20 (€27) at any one time, but punters are able to bet more than once over a period of days.

Tonight's final will see contestants Ian Cumming, Nadiya Hussain and Tamal Ray battle it out for the Bake Off crown.

Bets on this year's final were suspended in August amid fears that the winner's name had been leaked.

Ladbrokes said it had stopped taking wagers after it noticed suspicious play on one contestant, whose odds started at 12/1 and were reduced to 6/1, 3/1 and then evens.

Several of the wagers were the maximum the bookies would take for the show, and 90pc were placed on one contestant.

"We take any allegation of breach extremely seriously," a spokesman for Love Productions said.

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