Election and Royal Baby firing UK non-sports betting

Election and Royal Baby firing UK non-sports betting

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Political betting is generating record turnover in the UK

Bookmakers in the UK are seeing record turnover from non-sports betting thanks to this week's General Election and the birth of a Royal Princess.

Ladbrokes said that up to £100m (€136m/$152m) worth of bets could be placed on Thursday's poll and William Hill thinks it may turn out to be the first eight-figure turnover General Election.

William Hill expects to take bets of up to £25m itself on the outcome of the poll, with spokesman Graeme Sharpe saying that interest has "smashed all previous records" on political betting.

Sharpe says that political betting has become more popular thanks to last year's Scottish referendum, which saw an estimated £13m gambled, but is also cautious about a number of huge bets - such as £200,000 on a hung Parliament and £85,000 on the Conservatives being the largest single Party.

“Political betting on the General Election has really broken through to the mainstream thanks to the Scottish referendum,” said Sharpe.

"We expect to take even more four and five figure bets on the run-in to the Election, while voting is taking place - and when the results are announced but before the make-up of the next Government is known.

"But there is no doubt that this is already the biggest betting General Election - or, as have called it, the first 'Political Grand National'. Political betting is now our most popular non-sporting event, beating even Royal Baby and Reality TV betting."

The birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw big money gambled, and also huge pay-outs by bookmakers on the name of the baby.

Ladbrokes has estimated that bookmakers have paid out £1m after the name of the princess was announced on Monday, although Paddy Power suggested it had taken more than £1m in bets alone.

Charlotte, which had been 25/1 before the birth on Saturday, eventually saw three times as many wagers placed as other favourites Alice, Diana and Olivia.

Jessica Bridge, of Ladbrokes, told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Charlotte was the hot tip over the weekend and royal watchers up and down the land are quids in. We may have lost a fortune but we're paying out with a smile and wish the Duke and Duchess all the best."

William Hill was more pleased, saying it had paid out just over £100,000 to punters who correctly picked the name.

A William Hill spokesman said: "It is a big pay out but we have dodged a bullet because if it had been Alice, Elizabeth or Victoria we would have paid out even more. We have had a small win."

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