Brexit referendum makes political betting history

By David Cook
UK voters will decide on Thursday if they wish for the country to retain its membership of the European Union, in what has been called “the biggest non-sporting event the bookmaking industry has ever seen”.

While Gambling Insider has looked into the potential effects of Brexit, were it to occur, the issue itself has provided great interest for UK bookmakers, with Ladbrokes predicting that the amount wagered on the referendum will be £100m.

Ladbrokes' Head of Political Betting Matthew Shaddick said: “This is the biggest non-sporting event the bookmaking industry has ever seen, with £100m expected to be wagered by the time the polling booths close on Thursday night. The EU referendum has overtaken last year’s general election and the Scottish independence referendum as the largest political betting event of all time.”

In contrast, it was estimated that £25m was bet on the 2015 UK general election.

William Hill reported last week that 75.3% of the money staked on the referendum up to that point had been in favour of Remain.

If that trend were to continue until the votes are taken and using Ladbrokes’ current Remain odds of 2/7 at the time of writing as well as the £100m stake money prediction, this could lead to an approximate payout of £21.5m.

You never know, industry CEOs may have placed last-minute orders for their teams to walk into their local polling booth and vote Leave to save the industry an excessive payout. But with the publicity that can be gained from that, it is unlikely.

However, this estimate is only taking into account the current 2/7 odds and does not take into account the fact that the volume of bets could have heightened in recent weeks, thus making the Remain odds shorter than they were initially.

At the time of writing, the odds for voting Leave range across the board from 5/2 to 3/1.

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