Opinion: Can Bettors Really Trust Reality TV Wagering After Physical 100 Rigged Claims?

  • One of the finalists of reality TV show Physical 100 has claimed the final was not as it seemed
  • He said producers stopped the final challenge twice and edited it to look different
  • Incidents like this cast into doubt the legitimacy of reality TV show betting markets 
  • Unlike sporting events, they have no overarching power in charge of maintaining integrity
Physical 100
Claims made about the final challenge of Physical 100 bring into question the suitability of reality TV shows as a market for betting.

A South Korean hit

If you haven’t seen South Korean reality TV show Physical 100 then I would suggest getting comfy, switching on Netflix, and preparing to feel bad about the shape you’re in. It pits 100 of South Korea’s fittest athletes against one another in a number of challenges to determine the strongest of them all.

The show has proven an absolute hit with Netflix watchers, securing its place as the current top non-English language series on the platform. However, some new insider information has brought the show’s final challenge into question.

the final challenge was interrupted twice

Spoiler alert… the show was ultimately won by a Crossfit athlete named Woo Jin-yong who sealed victory in the final challenge against Olympic cyclist Jung Hae-min. Although the series concluded on February 21, Hae-min has now gone public with claims the final challenge was interrupted twice and edited to look like it was filmed in one go.

The claims have prompted viewers to suggest the show may have been rigged. If proven correct, it not only brings into question the integrity of Physical 100, but perhaps other reality TV shows too. Can bettors who are placing their money on the results of these competitions really trust the outcome, or are those decisions being made in the dark confines of the editing room?

What actually happened?

In the final challenge of Physical 100, Jin-yong and Hae-min had to compete in a rope pulling competition. As per the rules, both contestants had to pull a rope on a giant spool as quick as possible, the winner being the man who reached the end of their rope the fastest.

In a recent exclusive with a Korean news outlet, Hae-min claimed that the game was paused midway through because his rival was complaining of the excessive noise made by the rope pully. The production crew supposedly paused to lubricate the machines and began filming again before stopping the contestants for a second time. “Just as I thought the game was over, the production team halted the match again,” Hae-min said.

he felt pressure from the production team

According to Hae-min, the crew informed him that they had to have a rematch because of audio problems with the footage they had filmed. He says he eventually agreed to compete again despite suffering from exhaustion, noting that he felt pressure from the production team to do so. Eventually, Jin-yong sealed victory in this final attempt.

Jin-yong is yet to respond to the claims, while Physical 100’s producers have denied the allegations outright.

The wider implication

As legal betting spreads further and further across the globe, particularly in the US, more betting markets are becoming available to customers. One of those markets that has blown up in recent years is reality TV show betting. Gamblers can wager on everything from The Apprentice to Big Brother and Love Island.

While bettors may not have been able to actually wager on Physical 100, which was pre-recorded before its release on Netflix, these integrity issues pose a serious question regarding the suitability of TV shows as betting options.

In sports betting, gamblers know that authorities such as FIFA in soccer, the FIA in Formula 1, or the NFL in American football will work diligently to maintain the integrity of their sport. While they too are reliant on viewers as much as reality TV, they know that any challenge to the integrity of their sports will ultimately lose them fans rather than gain them.

production teams on reality TV shows are free to manipulate outcomes

In contrast, without an overarching regulator, production teams on reality TV shows are free to manipulate outcomes however they wish. It is difficult for a gambler to trust that they have received a just bet outcome when an editor could change that result by leaving unwanted tape on the cutting room floor.

The Physical 100 debacle should really make any reality TV bettor at least think twice before they place their next wager. Afterall, rigging a result is easy when you have near complete control of the narrative.

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