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Irish betting site puts Rochester in top 10 to land Amazon's HQ2

January 08, 2018 06:32 PM

A betting agency in the UK says Rochester's odds to land Amazon's new headquarters are 16 to 1. And you know what? Those are the same odds for Chicago, Philadelphia and Toronto and they're all in the top ten.

The betters are people in the UK and Ireland with money to bet and some interest in the underdog. The company offering the bet is called Paddy Power and I reached their spokesman on the phone.

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Brean: "Who's making these bets? Who's putting money down on Rochester to win this Amazon sweepstakes?"
Lee Price, PaddyPower: "So it's just people who I guess would have a hunch, who follow the story in the news agenda who think well if it was me I'd give it to Chicago, New York, Rochester. I'd say who's betting on Rochester is someone who fancies a bit of a dark horse."

Rochester winning the Amazon sweepstakes has always been a long shot. In October, Rochester and Buffalo submitted a joint bid to win Amazon's second world headquarters. Amazon says the winning city gets 50,000 jobs.

Paddy Power says most bets are $5 to $10 but Rochester already has thousands of dollars bet on it.  

Lee Price, PaddyPower: "Rochester was 25 to 1 when this market was first priced up. So the chance Rochester being chosen has almost doubled since the announcement. So, something is going on."

Brean: "How seriously should people take these odds that we see?"
Jeff Roberts, Fortune Magazine tech reporter: "Yeah, they're called novelty bets but that said, economists take them very seriously."

Jeff Roberts is a tech reporter for Fortune magazine. He first reported on the Amazon betting line. He says these are called novelty bets and if you go to Paddy Power you will find that you can bet on soccer matches, politics, the Amazon sweepstakes and who will be the next Pope. But Roberts says the bets represent a kind of crowd sourcing which can predict outcomes.

Jeff Roberts, Fortune Magazine tech reporter: "Even better, people are putting their money on the line which means they actually care or have a stake in it."
Brean: "What does it say that Rochester has the same odds as major cities like Toronto, Philadelphia and Chicago?"
Jeff Roberts, Fortune Magazine tech reporter: "Well, I mean the Amazon sweepstakes, Amazon has this criteria and I mean I think it probably reflects well on Rochester. It has some attractive attributes obviously."

The cities with the best odds are Atlanta and Austin, both are 3 to 1. You can only bet if you live in the UK or Ireland.

Amazon won't say when it's going to pick a winner. The company and Greater Rochester Enterprise, which is the lead agency for the Rochester Buffalo bid, all signed non-disclosure agreements.

The odds are the winner will be picked sometime this year.

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Berkeley Brean

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