Every year, the Eurovision Song Contest brings with it fresh accusations that the results are affected more by politics than music. But how much of the outcome is in fact determined by mathematics?
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The Mail on Sunday is reporting that “some of Britain’s most popular TV game shows could be forced off the air after regulators launched a probe into whether they constitute gambling”. The paper claims that game shows Deal Or No Deal, Red Or Black? and a proposal to revive Play Your Cards Right “could be breaking the law because they do not involve any element of skill” and “it is against the law to run non-skill games for money without a gambling licence”. If found in breach, the article suggests possible solutions:
Last night, one legal expert said that in order to comply with a licence, Deal Or No Deal could be forced to move to a time slot after the 9pm watershed, it could also face tight restrictions on the type of advertising allowed to be sold in the commercial breaks and the amount of pre-broadcast publicity it could receive.
Channel 4 may then decide it would be simpler to cancel the show, than be constrained by so many restrictions.
One distinction, pointed out in the comments, is that contestants don’t risk leaving the game show with less money than when they began. The article quotes “a Government source” saying that, at least for Deal Or No Deal, the issue is:
Even though at the beginning of the show, contestants do not have to stake any of their own money, the argument is that once they’ve picked a box, which could contain a lot of cash, in subsequent rounds they are in effect gambling with their own money
The full articles goes into the detail of the games involved and provides some comments from “game show bosses”, arguing that “rules created to control casinos and illegal betting should not be applied to entertainment programmes”.