Monday July 30,2012 : OLYMPIC TORCH BETS REFUNDED
Impossible to correctly predict who would light the London cauldron
Rigorous secrecy by the organisers of the London Olympics, allied to an unusual choice of who would light the cauldron, made it impossible for punters to fairly guess how the opening ceremony would play out, causing many bookies to void bets and return players' deposits following the big opening Friday night.
Ultimately, the honour of igniting the cauldron went not to a single athlete or celebrity, but to seven young sportsmen and women, confounding predictions on the final torch bearer.
William Hill plc was among those who refunded deposits to punters, saying that the result was impossible to predict.
Company spokesman Rupert Adams said the company had returned a "five-figure sum" bet by its clients who were offered odds on about 50 athletes and celebrities.
The Independent later reported that William Hill had returned GBP 50,000 bet by punters over the past seven years.
Five-time rowing gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave was the favourite for the honour; he was involved, but not ultimately, when he carried the torch into the Olympic Stadium but then handed it off to the seven young people.
Another favourite for the honour was veteran 4-minute-miler Roger Bannister, but that did not pay off either.
Sky Bet also voided all bets, saying it was "impossible to back the correct flame lighter".
Will Hill said the torch lighting bet had made for a "lively market" with plenty of small bets in the GBP 5, 10 and 15 range, with the biggest wager at William Hill around GBP 100.