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Posts Tagged ‘William Hill’

Harry Potter Ending Causes Consternation for Bookies

There’s probably no real way to report on this without engaging in some spoiler fun, but what the hell: the Guardian reports that the somewhat ambiguous ending of the last Harry Potter book has forced bookie William Hill to pay out on thousands of bets on the fate of the boy wizard. “Since the book came out, it’s been subject to quite a few interpretations,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams. “So we paid out on all the bets.”

Adams said that the bookmaker handed back 62,000 pounds to punters to cover all scenarios, “every penny that went into the book”. It took about 4,000 bets on the outcome, including more than 1,000 online. The spokesman was relaxed about the payout, saying it was small beer for the company: “When horseracing goes wrong, it can be 2m pounds.” Which is certainly no small chunk of change, that’s for sure…

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Booker Prize Bulletpoints

Now that the longlist has been announced, reaction streams in from all over the world:

  • It’s a “giant felling” list, according to John Ezard and Martin Hodgson. [Guardian]
  • But Erica Wagner thinks the list is relatively surprise-free. [The Times]
  • Bookmakers William Hill makes Ian McEwan the favorite, but installing Lloyd Jones‘ MISTER PIP at 20/1? Tsk tsk. []
  • DJ Taylor backs MISTER PIP. [Guardian]
  • Nikita Lalwani and Indra Sinha are celebrated in India for being longlisted. [The Hindu Times]
  • Reaction in New Zealand to MISTER PIP being on the longlist. [NZ Herald,]
  • Similar reaction in Canada for Michael Redhill‘s appearance. [CBC, G&M]
  • And in Ireland, they’re happy for Anne Enright.[RTE]
  • Will McEwan’s New Book Be Eligible for the Booker? reports that William Hill, the bookmakers famous for placing odds on those eligible to win the Booker Prize, are turning away those who want to bet early on Ian McEwan‘s ON CHESIL BEACH because no one seems to know whether the book is eligible for the Prize, or even whether it will be submitted for it. “McEwan’s books are always prominent contenders for the prize, and I was all set to make his just published ON CHESIL BEACH the 4/1 favourite to win the 2007 Prize when doubts were raised about its eligibility.’ said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe. “There is some doubt about whether it is a novel or a novella. The latter are apparently banned by the Booker, although there seems to be no definition as to what makes a novella a novel or vice versa. We have asked the publishers whether they will actually submit the book, and they don’t seem to know,” said Sharpe. “This has meant that I have already had to turn away people wanting to bet on the book, on the grounds that we do not know whether it will be a ‘runner’. In a quarter of a century of betting on the Booker I cannot remember a similar problem cropping up.”

    But Elizabeth Hand points out that the so-called problem is quite fixable. “A novel is usually considered to be a work over 40,000 words in length,” she explains, “and seems like a word count
    would resolve the issue.”

    In other McEwan-related news, the author is to send back a handful of pebbles he admitted taking from the titular protected beach in Dorset after his admission in a recent interview subjected him to a possible 2,000 pound fine. “I was not aware of having committed a crime, having not seen any signs on Chesil Beach,” McEwan said in a statement. “Chesil Beach is a uniquely beautiful place and I’m delighted to return the handful of small pieces of shingle to it.”