An offshore bookie has suspended betting on the winner of the second season of NBC's reality show "The Apprentice," citing an "unusual betting pattern on two contestants" from accounts originating in New Hampshire.
"We don't know if this is some kind of link to the contestants or some way involved with the production," BestWWTS.com wagering director Stuart Doyle told The Associated Press Tuesday. "When this has happened before, it's because someone has known the outcome."
This is the fourth reality-TV-related incident on which the Antigua-based BetWWTS.com has suspended wagering because of unusual betting patterns. Last year, CBS's "Survivor: Pearl Islands" winner Sandra Diaz-Twine received numerous wagers from Vancouver, British Columbia, before the first episode even aired. Similar incidents occurred during "Survivor: The Amazon" and the second installment of ABC's "The Bachelor."
"We are considering not offering betting on reality shows that have been pre-taped," said Doyle. "It simply seems impossible not to have to suspend them very quickly."
Unlike the "Pearl Islands" incident where the suspicious Vancouver wagers occurred near the winner's home in Fort Lewis, Wash., none of the "Apprentice" candidates seem to have New Hampshire ties, according to their NBC bios.
(Stop reading now if you don't want to know the show's outcome.)
Red flags were raised at BetWWTS.com when a maximum bet of $300 was placed on two candidates: lawyer Jennifer Massey, 30, from San Francisco and software executive Kelly Perdew, 37, from Carlsbad, California. The next day, Doyle witnessed a number of New Hampshire accounts that bet the limit on those two contestants.
"When we see a lot of bets with $300 then that's very suspicious," said Doyle, who noted typical bets are about $25.
"We're not going to speculate on the outcome at all," an NBC spokesman told the AP Tuesday. "The finale is live and there won't be a winner until the finale."
Last year, it came down to two finalists: Kwame Jackson and Bill Rancic, who won the $250,000 job of overseeing a Chicago building project.
According to NBC, Mark Burnett noted that all "Apprentice" leaks thus far have proved to be false.
Before the betting was suspended, consulting firm owner Elizabeth Jarosz, 31, led the pack with 5-to-1 odds, investment firm partner Pamela Day, 32, had 7-to-1 odds and marketing director John Willenborg, 24, had 8-to-1 odds to win.
The second season of "The Apprentice" was filmed in early summer, giving the plethora of production crew and the 18 candidates, who are all required to sign nondisclosure agreements, plenty of time to let "The Apprentice" out of the bag.
"We'll wait and see what happens," Doyle told the AP. "We'll still pay the individuals already involved, but we watch the show with maybe a little more inside information than the average viewer."
By Derrik J. Lang