I’m A Celebrity Betting

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Once upon a time, football, horse racing and little else outside major sporting events dominated all wagering action. But no more. The telly has created a following for new “reality shows,” and bookmakers have been keen to captialise on the interest.

Amongst the more novel of the novelty markets is an ITV television series called “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here.” This adventure game show debuted in 2002 in the U.K. and was an instant smash, copied in the United States in 2003; it has also given bookmakers a reliable and captive audience ever since.

The premise behind I’m A Celebrity is quite simple. A group of celebs are dropped in a remote rainforest setting where they must compete against one another. Contestants are eliminated one by one each week until only one remains standing…the King or Queen of the Jungle.

The fun starts when a baker’s dozen of familiar names are announced as the participants in advance of the first of nineteen episodes. In the latest edition of the series, which aired in the fall of 2011, celebs included legendary horse racer Willie Carson OBE, pop princess Sinitta, risqué comedian Freddie Starr and soap star Anthony Cotton, to name a few. Ante-post wagering on which celeb will survive the ordeal begins just as soon as the names of the potential victims are known.

The celebrity campers then leave their plush pads and luxuries behind and parachute into camp—an undisclosed location in the depths of the Australia Outback. There, they spend up to three weeks amongst the critters of the bush, while facing a host of nasty surprises dreamt up by ITV producers.

Trials that serve as obstacles to success range from the Scales of Justice, Catapulting Koalas, Celebrity Cyclone and Creepy Crypts to the perilous trek down Bushtucker Trail. There are snakes, both human and animal, to contend with, too. And adding to the planned action are unscripted feuds, flubs and spontaneous jungle romances.

Betting is possible on each episode, with the most popular market being fixed odds wagers on To Be Eliminated—i.e., which celeb will get the boot next. Betting tends to increase as the number of contestants grows smaller. Optional markets are also available at many bookmakers, including Gender of Winner, Last Man, Last Woman, Top 3 Finish and Top 2 Finalists, among others.

Acting as hosts of the show are the comedic duo of Ant & Dec, who appear each day for a Jungle Tea Break. They offer fans their thoughts and opinions on all of the action in camp. The mix of Down Under humour and very real risks makes for an extremely potent combination of giggles and gasps.

To allow fans to interact as the season progresses, the episodes are integrated with Facebook and Twitter. An estimated 1.5 million “likes” were registered on the show’s Facebook page in 2011 alone, when McFly bassist Dougie Poynter was crowned the ultimate King. The previous season’s Queen was heartthrob Stacey Solomon, who had finished third on the X Factor in 2009. Viewer votes are used to determine the winner among the two finalists.

One special aspect of I’m A Celebrity that sets it apart from most other reality TV shows is its charitable objective. Money raised by the series is donated to a select cause each season. In 2011, the chosen charity was Malaria No More U.K., an innovative organisation committed to ending suffering and death caused by malaria, a preventable and treatable disease.

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