Olympic Torch Lighting Bets Paid Back to Punters in Britain

Posted: July 30, 2012

Updated: October 4, 2017

Bets on who would light the Olympic torch in London have been refunded by the majority of sportsbooks.

Olympic opening ceremony is always fun to watch not just to see artists perform, but decide if your team’s tracksuits are nice this year or not. But the main highlight of the ceremony is the honor to light up the Olympic torch at the stadium, and many online sportsbooks in United Kingdom offered odds on the event.

This time around, the organizers of London 2012 did a great job preventing anyone from knowing who that person will be. Moreover, the honor to light the cauldron went not to a single person, but to seven athletes. Naturally, this two facts combined made it extremely difficult for bettors to predict who will cast the final spark.

William Hill, operating in full compliance with British gambling laws, was one of many online bookies returning bets to players, backing the actions up by explaining that the end result was impossible to see beforehand.

Rupert Adams, the company’s spokesman, told United Kingdom gambling news that the sportsbook had paid back a “five-figure sum”. Overall punters could choose from around 50 different celebrities and athletes to be the final torch bearers.

A well-respected publication, the Independent, has also reported later that Will Hill paid back GBP 50,000 wagered by clients during the last seven years.

Sir Steve Redgrave, five-time rowing gold medalist, enjoyed the position of being the favorite to light up the torch. In the end he did get involved in the process, bringing the torch into the Olympic Stadium, but he gave it on to the group of seven people, who did light the cauldron up.

William Hill reported that the torch lighting created a “lively market”, bringing in a multitude of small wagers in the GBP 5-15 range, but going all the way up to GBP 100.

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