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The great Betfair TMay resignation date row

June 10th, 2019

Is the betting exchange right not to be paying out now?

Last Friday TMay formally quit as CON leader which opened the way for a leadership contest. She is staying on as acting leader whilst the battle to replace her goes on and that won’t be completed until July.

For those many punters who backed on the Betfair exchange that she would be gone by the end of June are arguing that following Friday’s move they should get their winnings. She is no longer CON leader.

However Betfair have kept the market open and and have effectively told punters who have raised it with them that they regard her as still the leader and that the bets of the “she’ll be out by the end of June” punters are losers.

The terms of the market are in the panel above and as can be seen it defines the bet as “When will Theresa May officially cease to be leader of the Conservative Party?” . Note also the proviso that “In the event of any ambiguity over an official announcement, Betfair may determine, using its reasonable discretion, how to settle the market based on all the information available to it at the relevant time. Betfair reserves the right to wait for further official announcements before the market is settled.”

A betting Exchange like Betfair is not a bookie in the conventional sense that we know of them. It doesn’t fix the odds but rather provides the platform for punters to bet with each other. So there is no financial gain either way for Betfair.

I’m sure that those punters who’ve bet on a July departure would argue strongly if Betfair had settled it on the basis of last Friday’s announcement. It is a no win for the firm.

Before the 2015 General Election, when Betfair had not been taken over by Paddy Power, this problem would have landed on my desk. For a time I was the UK political advisor to the firm and if I had still been there I would have probably opted for last Friday being the critical date. But there is no right answer.

Mike Smithson