The business of betting on project completion dates gives rise to the possibility of 'insider dealing' among construction professionals
A friend of mine, who works for a professional spreading betting company, has been very keen to pick my brains on the state of the construction programme at the new Wembley stadium project.
Aside from the revelation that Bolton manager Sam Allardyce is at even money odds to be the first football manager to be given the boot in the Premisership sack race, he informs me that there is big money floating around on the actual date the stadium will be complete. To give you a flavour of the spread for its completion, it is now stretching as far ahead as the FA cup final in 2008.
The issue of betting on construction projects has been around for a long while, but reared its uglier side recently when the tabloids revealed a betting scam involving workers on the stadium cashing in on the fact that it wouldn’t be ready.
Bookmakers are being careful. As betting syndicates become more sophisticated and bets more specific and targeted, the type of information that bookmakers collect has become more in-depth. They are also contacting the people at the top, in other words the construction professionals in charge of projects, to ensure they have an accurate picture of the likely completion times.
If you want to predict the amount of days, weeks, months or years that a project will be completed either early or late, there is a good chance that there will be a betting agency out there prepared to take that bet, whether you are a programme management expert or not. And that of course raises ethical questions for all construction professionals involved in high profile projects.