Archive for the 'Betting' Category


In the General Election betting a CON majority drops from a 40%+ chance to a 29% one since MPs returned after the summer recess

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

What happened when MPs took back control

Until the afternoon of Tuesday September 3rd everything had been going well for Cummings and Johnson. The proroguement of Parliament cutting down the numbers of days before the October Brexit deadline when Johnson and his team would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny had been drastically slashed and all seemed on target.

Then MPs moved to take control of the Commons agenda allowing the Benn bill to go through – a measure designed to tie Johnson’s hands.

We then saw 21 Tory MPs, including several former cabinet members expelled from the party instantly losing the Tory majority.

It is in this context that the betting moved against a Tory majority on the Betfair exchange.

This has been partly down to closer examination of the Commons arithmetic. To win a majority Johnson needs to do better than TMay at GE17 while likely losing a bunch of seats to the SNP and the resurgent LDs.

Where are the Labour seats for the Tories to win to offset the losses and more? This is harder to see

Mike Smithson


Once again political gamblers have been overstating the chances of an early general election

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Chart via the

The favourite month has gone from September to October to November to December and now 2020

For decades or as long as I have been political betting one of the characteristics of political gamblers is that they overstate the chances of an early General Election being called. Somehow it is always easier to make the case in your own head that one is going to happen soon than that it probably won’t.

So over the past few weeks like other PBers I have been laying, betting against the current favourite month in 2019 and hopefully will make a nice profit.

A key factor to remember now is that under a statute that was enacted in 2013 the minimum campaign period for a general electio was laid as down 25 working days. Clearly from the betting quite a lot of punters are not fully aware of the implications of this.

On top of that it is useful to have at the back of your mind the provisions of the Fixed Term Parliament Act for how an election is called as a result of a vote of no confidence in the government. Once that has been decided there is a period of 14 days for it shall come into operation.

When the act first came into being and certainly for the years that followed the general view has been that this made no difference to the prime minister’s ability to call an election. Even though two-thirds of all MPs have to vote for one the view has always been, until this month, that the opposition leader would have to fall in line.

That, of course, is what Corbyn didn’t do two weeks ago and it is arguable that he is the one who will determine the election date rather than Mr Johnson.

Mike Smithson



Before you bet on the next Lib Dem leader market just remember the next leader might be in another party right now

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

All things considered I think I’ll give this market a swerve until things settle down, I maybe waiting a long time.

One of the things that is little discussed is just how much the Lib Dems are changing, the current influx theoretically will stretch the the party given that they are attracting both Labour and Tory defectors. How will the Lib Dem membership respond? We’ve seen the big two fracture after seeing an influx of new people, albeit this influx of new people is in Parliament.



Rebels with a cause

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Will the voters in Uxbridge & South Ruislip practise safe X to avoid waking up with a blonde and deep regrets the morning after the next GE?

The Sun report that

EXPELLED Tory rebels are plotting to oust Boris Johnson as an MP by running a candidate against him, The Sun can reveal.

Former Tory leadership rival Rory Stewart is being urged by some of the 21 rebels to stand against the PM in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.

The Prime Minister is defending a slimmed-down majority of just 5,034 in the Middlesex seat, leaving him already at risk.

A well-known Tory Remainer running against Mr Johnson could split the Conservative vote and hand Labour the seat, abruptly ending Boris’s premiership too.

The extraordinary plot would only be enacted if Mr Johnson still had a No Deal Brexit on the table going into the next General Election.

A Tory rebel source said: “There is an active discussion about running someone against Boris.

“It’s the nuclear option, but we would do it if we have to.”

Fellow Old Etonian Rory Stewart is a bitter critic of the PM’s and built a large public following for his repeated clashes with Boris during the summer leadership campaign.

Mr Stewart confirmed the suggestion has been put to him.

But he told The Sun tonight: “I would never run against Boris Johnson in his own constituency.

“I am hoping to bring the Conservative Party back to the centre ground. I remain loyal to it, I am not trying to destroy it”.

Ex-Cabinet minister Amber Rudd, who resigned the Tory whip in protest over Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy this week, is also aware of the plot.

But she has also ruled out running against Boris in Uxbridge as the pair were long-standing friends.

The pro-Jeremy Corbyn Momentum pressure group have already unveiled plans to throw an avalanche of resources into Boris’s constituency in a bid to oust him.

As the old Klingon proverb says ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold’ and boy would this be cold by Tory rebels, with Rory Stewart confirming the provenance of this story I suspect this may not be something Dominic Cummings has war-gamed.

I think it may happen if the Tories form a pact with the Brexit Party so you can vote for a genuine Tory and not a Brexit Party Lite Tory. With the shifting demographics in London towards Remain leaning voters and Boris Johnson & Brexit being very polarising I can see Boris Johnson’s majority being slashed to an uncomfortable level.

If the centre left are serious about winning the seat they should form a pact to oust the Prime Minister whilst the notional centre right slug it out. It would be the epitome of the bizarre political situation we find ourselves in if the sitting Prime Minister lost his seat.

My own view is if Boris Johnson is looking vulnerable in Uxbridge & South Ruislip he will amend the Tory rules and do a chicken run to a safer seat, there’s one in Orpington available, he certainly has the chutzpah to do so.



The next general election vote shares by party betting

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Ladbrokes have markets on the GB vote shares for the Tories, Labour, and Lib Dems at the next general election. I’m sitting out this market for the time being for a variety of reasons mainly to do, but not exclusively, with

  1. We’re not sure when it will be, it could be weeks or it could be years away.
  2. Nor do we know the circumstances of the election.
  3. Will Boris Johnson be Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition at the time of the next election. Will he really go into opposition rather than take an extension to avoid No Deal even after all the potential problems No Deal could bring as per Yellowhammer?
  4. Have we actually left the EU by the time of the next election?
  5. There could be pacts and alliances at the next election which could mess up the vote shares and consequently these bets.

However if you can spot any value let me know in the comments, right now all I can see is value for Ladbrokes and their bonus fund.



Sporting Index open their general election seat markets

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

My approach to the spreads is to snog the Lib Dems, marry the Greens & the Brexit Party, and avoid the Tories & Labour.

I really enjoy spread betting, it is fun laced with huge risk which makes it fun, and allows you to open and close positions long before election day, plus in the past it has been very profitable so I’m glad Sporting Index have opened up these markets.

I’ve spent the last few hours looking at this market I’ve decided to buy Brexit Party, Green Party, and Lib Dems seats, my rationale for this is that there’s not much downside for these parties on this market, and potentially huge upsides.

I’m not going to participate on the spreads for the big two parties for the time being because I genuinely am not confident on calling the seat numbers for them.

You can see this being an epochal election for one or both of them which sees them slump. You can see both of them losing huge swathes of seats ranging from the SNP, The Brexit Party, and the Liberal Democrats and being usurped by at least one of them in the Great Britain seat totals.

If that happens and I’ve bought say Tory seats and they slump to a 2005 seat total level I’ll be going to the poorhouse. At the next election 35% might be enough for a landslide or it see a party finish comfortably second which could play havoc with the seat markets, so could an electoral pact or two.

Back in 2017 when the seat markets opened if I recall correctly the Tories opened at a mid price of around 400 seats whilst Labour was around 150 seats which would have been a huge loss for anyone who bought the Tories or sold Labour which shows the impact of a good and bad general election campaign.

When I’m more confident about the next election I’ll review these markets. You can access the Sporting Index market by clicking here.



When the betting markets get it wrong boy do they get it wrong

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Meet the reverse ferret in political betting markets.

The charts above show how even the betting markets can get it spectacularly wrong. Below is the spreads offered by Sporting Index a few hours before the polls opened for the 2015 general election.

Some of this might be a result of the opinion pollsters having a bit of nightmare in recent years but even in the Peterborough by election where there were no publicly available polling the markets got it wrong even after the polls closed. These aren’t in the niche betting markets like what colour tie would George Osborne wear in the 2015 budget but the major political events of recent times.

For Brexit referendum the spike just after 10.30pm was down to serial Westminster loser Nigel Farage calling it for Remain, so even those at the heart of the events don’t always know what is going on what hope is there for the rest of us?

Over on Betfair at the time of writing the Conservatives have an implied probability of over 65% to win most seats, given the inaccuracy of betting markets in recent years that should send a cold shiver down the back of Boris Johnson as he hopes to hold a general election this year. Certainly the majority of the polls published this weekend just gone didn’t imply a Conservative majority.



Changing the Prime Minister might be the only way

Monday, September 9th, 2019

One thing the existing House of Commons can agree on (it can’t on anything else) is that it doesn’t want No Deal. It’s now voted several times to this effect and, in fact, it’s as determined to prevent No Deal as the Government is to deliver Brexit by 31st October at all costs. It has been trying to do everything it can to stop it: delaying a General Election, challenging the proroguing of Parliament, and, now, passing the Hillary Benn Bill into law.

Equally, the present Government is equally clear it will test this law to the extremes – everything short of breaking the law. There have even been suggestions of invoking the Civil Contingencies Act over the weekend. It might also yet find allies within the EU on scuppering yet another delay, including President Macron. The House of Commons therefore has no reason to trust the present administration that it will honour their wishes.

However, two things remain true: this current Government doesn’t have a majority (or anything close) for its policy and, whilst Parliament will be prorogued on Thursday, it will come back on 14th October. The Queen will then make her speech and – usually – there will be six days of debate assigned to each policy area within it followed by a vote in the Commons on whether to accept it. The European Council meeting takes place right in the middle of this: on 17th and 18th October.

If by this date there is no deal agreed or no extension secured to Brexit (either by obfuscation by the Government or through European Council exasperation or a mixture of both) then the House of Commons is staring into the abyss. They will be out of options, except one: to strip control from the Executive, and form an alternative administration. That administration will be left with two choices: to either pass whatever is on the table from the EU, at that stage, or to revoke A50.

Whether this occurs through some procedural chicanery facilitated by the Speaker during the Queen’s Speech debates (which I don’t rule out) or shortly after will be interesting to see but matters will come to a head during the week commencing Monday 21st October, which will be Parliament’s last chance and a matter of days away from the Article 50 termination date.

There has been lots of focus recently on the FTPA and that a Vote of No Confidence leads to an early general election after fourteen days if no alternative government is formed that the House of Commons subsequently resolves it has confidence in. However, it can happen much faster than that. In this scenario, I expect it would happen inside 24 hours.

It’s my view that the House of Commons would baulk at an outright Revoke, and will be painfully aware of the consequences of doing so, but would want the next ‘least bad’ option. Something that can kicks and mitigates the impact. Parliament would want to ensure the European Parliament had several days to ratify at their end (indeed it’s currently not planning to sit from 28th to 31st October) and, if needs be, prepare any additional emergency legislation in the UK to convert it into law.

There would also be many MPs who’d either baulk at voting for Jeremy Corbyn as PM (why take the risk of his disorganisation and equivocation at this late stage?) or by having “voted for Brexit” on their records, so the majority required to pass the Withdrawal Agreement in my view would drop. I’d expect abstentions from the Liberals Democrats and SNP at the very least. But we’d need someone who could both do the job and carry 280 to 290 MPs in the Commons with.

I think a Conservative (or ex-Conservative) would be an obvious choice. The opposition would love to split the party further, make it own Brexit (at an Executive level) and it’s clear that with the personal animosity many possess toward Boris Johnson, this may influence their choices too. There are also several Conservatives currently on the backbenches who might be sufficiently altruistic to sacrifice themselves in the national interest where they sense the game might be up anyway.

Ken Clarke is flavour of the month but my view is that Jeremy Hunt represents a good choice. If he could command a temporary Government of National Unity to pass the WA there’d be no better way to mitigate Brexit, spite Boris and damage the Conservatives all in one. Hunt would take it in my view because he’ll be very nervous about his Surrey South West seat post No Deal and would relish being the saviour – few people give up the chance to become Prime Minister and lead.

He is currently available at 66/1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill, where I might have him down more at 15/1 or even 12/1. I’m on.

Casino Royale

Casino Royale is a long standing PBer and tweets as CasinoRoyalePB