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Betting on 'The Bachelor' hits too close to home

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 13, 2002

An official from the online gaming site BetWWTS.com says the company recently shut down a betting line on which woman would be chosen as the final date on ABC's reality TV show The Bachelor. The reason: an unusual number of bets coming from the hometown of the show's bachelor, Aaron Buerge.

According to a press release circulated by the company last week, "a suspicious amount of new accounts had been opened from (Buerge's hometown of) Springfield, Mo.," beginning Oct. 31 -- at one point totalling nine new account applications per minute. All of the people who opened those accounts wagered on the same woman to be chosen in the finale of the show, at the betting limit of $300, the release said.

SPOILER AHEAD: People.com, the Web site for People magazine, reported Monday that the bachelorette getting all the wagers was New Jersey school psychologist Helene -- now competing against Brooke, a college student from Alabama.

The 23 women Buerge previously rejected will be shown talking about their experiences in a special episode, The Bachelor: The Women Tell All, airing at 9 tonight on WFTS-Ch. 28. The two-hour finale, in which Buerge chooses between Helene or Brooke, airs at 9 p.m. on Nov. 20.

Eric Piel, bank president at First National Bank of Springfield, where Buerge is senior vice president, told the Associated Press he found it ridiculous people were laying odds on a show that has already been taped.

"There are people who know," Piel said. "It's not like a football game that's going to be played tomorrow."

-- Times television critic Eric Deggans contributed to this report.

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