"There's always a risk with these shows that information will leak and certain people will try to take advantage of it," Alex Czajkowski, Sportsbook's marketing director, stated in its announcement of the decision. "We decided to offer odds again this year because that's what the majority of our customers wanted. Reality television is a big part of our business, but in the spirit of fairness we can no longer accept any wagers on this particular show."
According to Sportsbook.com, it had recently witnessed "a large number of wagers" -- all for the maximum amount allowed by the gambling website -- coming from Ohio, the home state of one of The Amazing Race Family Edition's ten competing families.
Presumably not coincidentally, all the bets also happen to have been placed on that one Ohio family -- The Linz Family, a team of siblings from Cincinnati. Comprised of young adult siblings, the Linz family team features Tommy, a 19-year-old Miami University of Ohio student; Megan, a 21-year-old Miami University of Ohio student; Alex, a 22-year-old recent University of Cincinnati graduate; and Nick, a 24-year-old who currently works in sales and lives in Buffalo, New York
Although all major network reality-competition shows require contestants and their families to sign non-disclosure agreements (agreements that typically feature multi-million dollar violation penalties) as a condition of the contestants' participation, several reality shows have still been "spoiled" by online betting during the last few years. If Sportsbook's latest suspicion proves correct, The Amazing Race Family Edition's disclosure would mark the sixth time that the identity of a reality show winner has been revealed via online gambling -- and make The Amazing Race the second reality series (joining CBS' Survivor) to have leaked twice.
Next came two instances involving CBS's Survivor. In Survivor: The Amazon (the sixth series), BoDog Sportsbook & Casino reported that a number of CBS employees had wagered on the final two being Jenna Morasca and Matthew von Ertfelda, as it indeed was. In the very next series, Survivor: Pearl Islands, BetWWTS.com suspended betting in September 2003, before the show even aired, after receiving over 95% of its bets on eventual winner Sandra Diaz-Twine; a week later, Intertops.com also suspended betting after receiving disproportionate action on Sandra and "decoy" Osten Taylor (who actually quit the show halfway through).
CBS will premiere The Amazing Race Family Edition on Tuesday, September 27 with a special two-hour broadcast that begins at 9PM ET/PT.
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