Changing political dynamics combined with unpredictable voter behaviour has seen politics return to the top of bookmakers’ agendas.
Opening Betting on Sports (BOS) ‘Politics Session,’ Matthew Shaddick Head of Political Betting at Ladbrokes detailed to delegates that the market was no longer considered ‘expensive wallpaper’ used by bookmakers for PR outreach.
Detailing a ‘vibrant market,’ Shaddick stated that recent political markets had reached wagering levels of a ‘mid-level sport’ such as golf and motor racing.
The BOS panel declared that the UK betting market had been gripped by 23 June’s UK EU Referendum. A period of intense political debate had seen bookmaker Brexit markets discussed continually by media and politicians on ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ camps.
Nottingham Business School’s Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams noted that the market had been unique as the public ‘believed the bookmakers and not the polls’.
Williams further states that to an extent the bookmakers had been “victims of their own success as people took the markets to be the truth,” and neglected that the referendum was different in nature and voting format to General Elections.
Turning the panel’s attention to the US Election on 8 November, William Hill Political Spokesperson Graham Sharpe detailed that its market had seen significant action on Donald Trump taking the White House.
The bookmaker faces its biggest ‘political payout’ with one punter from Cornwall standing to win £100,000 on a Trump victory having backed the brash New Yorker at 150/1. Sharpe would further comment that ‘Trump is the Leicester City!’.
However, Mike Smithson founder of Politicalbetting.com was not surprised on the ‘Trump phenomenon.’ As a political analyst, Smithson detailed to the audience that underdog stories were a common occurrence in politics.
Pointing to recent political history, Smithson details that Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, Ed Miliband and even David Cameron were considered outsiders in their respective leadership races.
Facing a weak Republican field with no outstanding candidate, Smithson stated that Donald Trump had a great shot at being Party Presidential Candidate.
Closing the session, the BOS politics panel are asked whether 2017 could be ‘the end of the world?’ following a year in which Leicester City won the Premier League, Britain voted Brexit and with Trump Presidency odds narrowing this week. Graham Sharpe swiftly replies ‘I don’t know…But William Hill will give you great odds on that!’