James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter continue to compete in Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament, a multi-day event that sees the legendary contestants square off for a chance to win $1 million.
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’s David Purdum reported that offshore sportsbooks began taking bets on the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament in November, immediately after the event was announced. A few days after the tournament taped in December (all episodes of Jeopardy are pre-taped), a flood of maxed-out bets came in for a certain contestant, who ESPN identifies as Contestant X in order to avoid spoilers, who had previously not been heavily favored. As a result of the sudden influx of money, sportsbooks became suspicious that the winner had leaked, and they quickly decided to halt all betting on the GOAT tournament.
According to ESPN, most regulators in the United States restrict betting on “prerecorded, rehearsed, or scripted events,” like WWE wrestling or TV series finales, as it’s likely that certain people will know the result ahead of time. However, offshore sportsbooks permit this kind of “novelty betting,” and the Jeopardy GOAT tournament has been popular with online bettors.
Purdum reports that on December 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.” According to the book’s trading director Marco Blume, the bettor likely “knew what was happening,” so the book took action to prevent a further loss. Dave Mason, boss of Panama-based, did the same, tweeting on December 23, “Closing the Jeopardy GOAT odds for now. Some irregular betting patterns coming in.”
Some irregular betting patterns coming in.
— Dave Mason (@DaveMasonBOL) December 23, 2019