General News

Betting Bonanza Raises Fears of Harry Potter Leak

May 25, 2005 | 9:40am EDT

Bookmakers are convinced the plot of the next Harry Potter novel has been leaked - despite the fact the new book is being held under strict security at a printing press in Germany.

Publishers are desperate to keep the new novel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince secret until its release on July 16.

But internet betting site Blue Square has suddenly been bombarded with bets on the death of Hogwarts school's headmaster Dumbledore--played by Michael Gambon since the demise of original actor Richard Harris in 2002.

And concerns were raised when bookmakers noticed almost all the bets were from the English town of Bungay, Suffolk, where author J.K. Rowling's latest book is being printed.

Leading British bookmakers Ladbrokes have now refused to accept the bets, insisting it's obvious people have already had a sneak preview of the manuscript.

Ed Pownall of the Blue Square tells British newspaper The Sun, "We have taken nearly £6,000 worth of bets on Dumbledore in the past seven days.

"All have been placed in Bungay or nearby Beccles. A lot of punters have opened new accounts and placed a maximum bet of £50 each on what is an obscure market. That made us sit up and take note."

Warren Lush of Ladbrokes says, "We weren't foolish enough to take the bets. There are obviously people out there who have read the manuscripts."

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