With political betting becoming a booming market, the news that Theresa May had called for a snap election to be held in less than two months was music to many punters’ ears. Seismic shifts in politics came in multiple forms in 2016 – with new words and phrases such as “Brexit” and “fake news” coined by Twitter users and journalists to represent Britain’s decision to leave the EU and Trump’s tirade against media organisations respectively. The bookmakers, already reeling from Leicester City’s 5000/1 English Premier League football shock, took further hits in the form of politics – and it looks as though 2017 hasn’t slowed anyone’s appetite.
Theresa May’s decision to hold a general election in the UK ahead of schedule (a snap election) surprised many, probably due to repeated assurances that it wouldn’t happen. Yet, many observers aren’t surprised by the tactic due to the Conservatives’ huge lead in the polls and odds (see below).
It’s one of the biggest clichés around for politicians to go back on their word, so ridicule at Mrs May’s announcement wasn’t as rampant on Twitter and social networks as first expected. However, some did express their utter contempt for yet another political cloud to be imminently hovering over the UK.
Independence referendum, general election, Scottish election, EU ref, general election. All within three years. Stop doing this to me.
— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) April 18, 2017
While the above video shows much despair, online gambling enthusiasts are clearly not wasting any time in placing their bets. Betfair announced today that they had taken more than £750,000 within just 24 hours of the Prime Minister’s call for the snap election, with many clearly hoping that the bookies’ dire form continues going forward.
It had been mooted that political betting would actually cease to be a market due to the heavy losses that many bookmakers took in 2016, but they’ve come back roaring with plenty of tempting odds that are bound to get many in the mood.
Considering Brexit broke the non-sporting event record at £120million in total bets, could the June 2017 UK general election go further? The US election in November of last year drew a substantial amount of interest too, all £20million of them in fact, but perhaps British politics is what really gets UK betters going.
One of the disadvantages that this snap election has over its Brexit and Trump/Hillary rivals is that the vote will take place much sooner. David Cameron officially earmarked the EU referendum just over 4 months before it took place, while the Republican and Democratic nominees for the White House are generally selected around 3-4 months in advance. So, if the UK’s snap election is going to break the Brexit record, it’ll have some catching up to do. That said, it’s expected to collect into the tens of millions with significant ease.
While there wasn’t much ridicule for May’s U-turn on Twitter, there was plenty left in the cannon for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The much-criticised socialist has fronted the red side of politics since he succeeded Ed Miliband on 12th September 2015, fighting off plenty of unrest within Labour which culminated in a challenge to his leadership just over a year later. Nevertheless, the bookmakers and much of Twitter believe that May may well have signalled the end.
Meanwhile, in Labour HQ#GeneralElection pic.twitter.com/xjkSVxEQoo
— Ed (@eddo_) April 18, 2017
Labour Party HQ #GeneralElection pic.twitter.com/mDkSIaNgHs
— Sophia Cannon (@SophiaCannon) April 18, 2017
Jeremy Corbyn today! #GeneralElection #TheresaMay pic.twitter.com/rReXPFium5
— Jacomus22 (@jacomus22) April 18, 2017
Does Jezza hold any hope? Betfair don’t think so. They say there’s a 93% chance that the Conservatives will win the most seats, with an overall majority labelled at 89%. Ladbrokes aren’t very optimistic for Corbyn either, with their odds at the time of writing being 8/1 that he’ll be the next incumbent of Number 10. William Hill are also backing Theresa to walk away with it, as their current odds for most seats rank the Conservatives at a whopping 1/14.
However, 2016 showed us that bookmakers cannot be trusted when it comes to political betting, and we’ll leave you with this quote from Corbyn to outline just how far he’s come…
On poor opinion polls, Jeremy Corbyn says: "In 2015, I was given 200/1 as an outside chance."
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) April 20, 2017