Wagering on the outcome of the Brexit referendum broke the record for non-sporting events, as punters put down £120 million (US$162 million).
UK.- Brexit referendum broke all the records for political betting with punters putting down £120 million (US$162 million). The unexpected outcome left some bookmakers celebrating six-figure profits whilst others saw heavy losses.
The betting markets failure to predict the Brexit result contradicts the common view that they are a reliable indicator of public sentiment.
William Hill took £3 million (US$4.05 million) in bets and faced on Friday a net £400,000 (US$540,080) loss. “Very few saw this coming,” commented Graham Sharpe, media relations director at William Hill. “It must be that more people backed ‘leave’ with us than other bookmakers.”
At Ladbrokes, the average stake on ‘remain’ was £400 (US$540) whilst the average stake on ‘leave’ was just £70 (US$94.5). “The majority of players in the market were backing ‘leave’, but that doesn’t matter to the prices; all that counts is the amounts of money,” explained Matthew Shaddick, Ladbrokes’ head of political betting. “One £10,000 bet counts the same as 10,000 separate £1 bets.” In spite of calling the result incorrectly, Ladbrokes made an estimated six-figure profit on the market.
Betfred took just over £1 million (US$1.35 million) in bets and reportedly made a small profit on the market, which it described as “the biggest ever shock in political betting”. “All the big money came in for ‘remain’ and the result surprised us,” said the bookmaker.
Coral also took £1 million (US$1.35 million) in bets and according to the operator, it balanced its book in such way that it would have made profit on either a leave or remain vote.