An online sportsbook said it has dropped betting on CBS' "Survivor" after allegedly finding that network employees were wagering - and winning - on the hit reality show.
The Costa Rica-based BoDog.com found at least two CBS employees betting on the show's outcome, said BoDog spokesman Lance Bradley. The suspicion is they had insider knowledge, he said.
"We're pretty sure this is the case," Bradley said. The players in question opened accounts with BoDog before "Survivor: Marquesas," the fourth show, and bet only on the show and no other events.
They wagered correctly on who would be the final two contestants in both the fourth and fifth editions of "Survivor," Bradley said. The biggest payoff, $8,000, came on a $1,000 bet placed on the fifth "Survivor" at 8-to-1 odds.
At least two players have been identified as CBS employees and other names may be connected to the network or may be aliases, Bradley said. One person was said by BoDog to work in a "production role" for CBS.
The players' current bets on "Survivor: Amazon" have been canceled and their money refunded, Bradley said. Asked if BoDog might consider legal action, he replied: "It's not something we'd want to pursue, as a matter of precedent."
He wasn't aware of any other possible legal sanctions.
"Only 'The X-Files' has more conspiracy theories than 'Survivor,'" CBS spokesman Chris Ender said. He declined further comment on the allegations, or on any action CBS might take.
BoDog requires that bettors must not have knowledge of an event's outcome. Bradley said that bets taken from those alleged to be with CBS skewed the odds significantly on "Survivor" contestants.
The show narrows the field to two finalists in filmed competitions. The winner is unknown until he or she is chosen in a vote by other contestants during a live broadcast.
For the current "Survivor," the bets in question affected the odds for contestants Jenna Morasca of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Matthew Von Ertfelda of Washington, D.C.
"Throughout the history of 'Survivor,' many have believed they knew the outcome of the show," Ender said. "Some have been right, many have been wrong."
Betting on events other than sports or racing is banned in Las Vegas sportsbooks, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Gaming Control Board said Thursday. Most offshore sportsbooks accept such alternative bets, said BoDog's Bradley.
Odds will be offered on the seventh "Survivor" but all bettors will be carefully monitored, BoDog President Rob Gillespie said in a statement.
Callers to the Bodog.com offices were told that wagers were no longer being accepted on "Survivor."
By Lynn Elber
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