Poll: Ladbrokes suspend betting on Great British Bake Off after flurry of bets in Ipswich - but who is the winner?

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, presenters of the Great British Bake Off. Betting has been suspended

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, presenters of the Great British Bake Off. Betting has been suspended on this year's show by Ladbrokes after a flurry of bets in the Ipswich area. - Credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi

Thousands of pounds worth of bets placed in Ipswich on who will win the 2015 BBC Great British Bake Off has led to Ladbrokes suspending betting.

Since Monday, the bookmaker has taken a number of bets for one contestant whose odds started at 12/1 and were reduced to 6/1, 3/1 and then evens.

Many of the bets were placed in shops around Ipswich and by phone calls coming from the town’s postcode, and came to a total of “a few grand”.

David Williams, spokesman for Ladbrokes, said: “This is the kind of market that you wouldn’t expect to see an awful lot of money being bet on one particular candidate but we started to see elevated levels of interest in just one candidate. It’s been one way traffic, almost entirely.

“Total amount staked was only a few grand but given that the average stake for a market like this is generally a fiver and we’ve only been up since Monday that is a significant swerve away from the norm.”

Several of the bets were the maximum the bookies would take for the show, and 90% were placed on one contestant.

Ladbrokes said that several customers came in and asked to place the highest bet possible on one contestant which raised suspicion.

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“We are not necessarily saying there is something fishy going on, but the prudent thing to do is to take a breather,” Mr Williams added.

The suspension will not affect bets already placed.

Other bookmakers in Ipswich – Coral and William Hill – said they were not offering bets on the show because it is pre-recorded and opens the opportunity for a leak of the winner.

David Stevens, a spokesman for Coral, said: “Obviously it’s a pre-recorded show so there are plenty of people who know the result in advance.

“We did offer bets - albeit to small stakes - a couple of years ago, within an hour 90% of the bets we took were on Frances Quinn, who unsurprisingly won the show.

“Having had our fingers burned on that occasion we’ve decided to sit it out since then, but it doesn’t surprise me at all Ladbrokes have had to suspend.”

The new series of the Bake Off got under way on BBC1 last night.

Professional musician Stuart Henshall was the first contestant to be sent home from the show this year.

The 35-year-old was eliminated from the competition after failing to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with his Black Forest gateau, which he made using beetroot.

Who do you think will win? Vote in our online poll.

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