The fifth series of the ITV2 reality show ‘Love Island’ saw its fair share of ups and downs – not to mention thousands of Ofcom complaints about the unacceptable behaviour of the contestants – and the eventual winners, beauty therapist Amber Gill and professional rugby player Greg O’Shea, may have proved a disappointment to some viewers. The result was certainly an upset, with Tommy Fury – younger brother of boxer Tyson Fury – and social media influencer Molly-Mae Hague tipped as winners weeks in advance and odds-on heading into the ‘final’.
One viewer with more reason than most to be disappointed with the defeat of Fury and Hague was an unidentified Sky Bet punter for whom victory for the long-standing couple would have completed the eighth, and final, leg of an accumulator worth £10,760.60. Ironically, having invested time, effort and a significant amount of money – his initial stake was £102 – in seven, legitimate sporting selections, including Enable in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon Men’s Singles, to name but two, his fate was ultimately determined by the British public voting on a less-than-intellectually-demanding, often mind-numbing, TV reality series.
Of course, it can be argued that the punter was unlucky to come to grief at the ‘final hurdle’, but his exploits serve as a timely reminder that so-called ‘novelty’ bets are intended as quirky, fun, or even comical, distractions and not serious betting opportunities. Reality TV may be harmless enough, but is typically exploitative, crude and designed for shock value, so shock results should come as no real surprise.