Put your money where your vote is

Political betting is on the rise and the bets are indicating a very different election outcome from what the polls are saying.


Britain is betting crazy. Football, horses, the weather, you name it – you can put your money where your mouth is and look to make some pounds on your hunch. Politics too has historically been fair game and along with polling data, it’s not uncommon to see a newspaper write up featuring odds from the bookies on who will win the election. For “who will win most seats?” Ladbrokes are currently offering 2/5 for the Conservatives, 2/1 for Labour, 100/1 for UKIP, 500/1 for Liberal Democrats and 500/1 for the Greens.


As with traditional sports, political betting is becoming more granular and sophisticated. Don’t like the most seats offers above? No problem, if you live in a marginal you can bet on the outcome at the constituency level. The Greens are 1/3 favourites to hold Brighton Pavilion with Labour at 9/4.


Bets today clearly come in many shapes, but the sizes have grown too. The largest bet placed in British politico-betting history was a £900,000 wager on a No outcome in the Scottish referendum last year. The businessman made £193,000 on top of his stake. The biggest stretch bet must belong to Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party who agreed on a £10 bet with William Hill for 15,000,000:1 odds on him becoming Prime Minister. Needless to say, the house won.


Perhaps borne out of the uncertainty of recent elections, the media’s fascination with political betting has increased. This has undoubtedly helped funnel more politicos into the arms of the bookmakers. So if money speaks louder than words, then here is your real source to test the nation’s appetite and asses the most likely outcome, not conventional polling.


The Telegraph is currently featuring an alternative poll on its website. Unlike the neck and neck national polls this one has a Labour majority at 37.9% likelihood compared to a Conservative one at 17.9% and a Con-Lib repeat at 13.5%. This chart is updated daily with the latest odds from bookmakers Betfair.


Source: The Telegraph

The 2014 Scottish Referendum was the largest non-sport betting spectacle British bookmakers have experienced and the 2010 election was estimated to have been worth up to £100m. Britain’s growing appetite for betting combined with the higher profile the political betting markets are enjoying means that 2015 will likely be another record breaker. 


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