HBO leaks cause problems for bookies

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Game of Thrones fans around the world are busy arguing over whether their favourite characters will survive the next two episodes and make it into season eight, but thanks to recent leaks bookies are reticent to offer odds on their chances.

Prior to the premier of season seven in July, bookies offered odds on which of the show’s main characters would die first and which would be killed off over the season’s seven episodes. Petyr Baelish was expected to die first with even odds 1:1, while the chances of Ellaria Sand surviving the season were as bleak as 1:7. However, it has become increasingly difficult for bookies to offer odds on upcoming episodes after leaks of both scripts and full episodes have appeared online.

After a wide-reaching cyberattack on HBO, the script for the fourth episode, ‘The Spoils of War’, was uploaded online a week before its official air date as part of the hacker group’s plan to extort the television network. Then, in an apparently unrelated leak, the complete episode was uploaded online carrying the watermark of the Star India media company, one of HBO’s international network partners.

Soon afterwards, the script of the next episode, ‘Eastwatch’, was uploaded online by the hackers, giving details what would happen next. It is unclear whether the hackers plan to release the scripts of the final two episodes of the season prior to air as well, but the 1.5TB of data they stole from HBO implies they could do so if they so choose.

These leaks are a cause of major concern to HBO, but they have also caused problems for bookies, who have had to stop offering odds on the show because they cannot be certain who has access to what information.

Pat Morrow, Game of Thrones fan and head oddsman at the online gambling site Bovada, told Business Insider:

“Last season, we put Hodor up on the Iron Throne at 5,000 to one, and took a few bets for that because we thought we’d have a laugh. And I guess it was worth it for the pay out as well. We tried to post more serious stuff this year. But unfortunately, those leaks have hampered us a little bit.”

Game of Thrones airs in the US on HBO every Sunday evening, which means its simulcast on UK channel Sky Atlantic is at 2am on Mondays. Each episode is repeated on Monday evenings both Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.

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