Betting and gambling have been a part of our lives for centuries, with humans’ innate need for entertainment and risk coming together to create this pastime. There are some gambling games that have been around for hundreds of years, while other newer ones are also equally popular, while the advent of the internet, as well as television, has made betting even more popular and accessible. Sports betting is one of the biggest and most lucrative activities related to sports today, with billions of dollars being placed in bets every year all over the world. However, it is interesting to note that the popularity of sports betting has also led to another phenomenon, that of betting on other ‘live’ events, such as reality TV shows.
Reality TV has become one of the most viewed genres on television all over the world but especially in the United States, where there are multiple such shows on the air at any given moment. This culture has found its way to Europe and elsewhere as well, and another result of this has been the rise in betting on the outcomes of these shows. Reality shows are usually in the form of competitions, and so there are often betting markets on potential winners that open up on online sports betting sites as soon as these shows begin to air. Shows such as ‘The X Factor’, ‘The Voice’, ‘American Idol’, ‘The Bachelor’, ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ and so on all garner huge audiences, with many of them also deciding their outcomes through viewer voting. Therefore, there is already a large emotional investment from audiences in the participants and their stories, which adds to the inclination to place bets on them.
Most reality shows of this nature will have small features that show more about the participants’ lives and their journeys to reach the televised rounds of that particular show, and this helps create an emotional connection for audiences. At the same time, it also creates an environment where people begin to back one person or the other, and those who enjoy gambling will then place bets on their favoured picks. This can continue throughout the show as it progresses and participants are eliminated, with the finals often generating the highest viewership and betting volumes.
It must be noted that these sort of gambling options are only available online, since regular betting shops are not allowed to offer these markets. This, of course, does make it quite easy and convenient for punters to place bets, with many sports betting sites offering odds on TV shows, as well as specialized entertainment betting sites. Therefore, with the rise in popularity of such reality shows continuing, we can expect to see betting volumes on these shows increase as well, and it will be interesting to see how these betting trends go over the next few years. There is the expectation that there could be some form of regulation introduced by authorities to better regulate these markets, which should give punters some more protection, as well as ensuring that fraudulent sites and operators are closed down rapidly and prosecuted as well.