Archive for the 'Betting' Category


2019 now moves to the favourite slot as year of the next general election

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Chart of Betfair price movements from

The big betting move following Johnson’s thumping victory in the first round of the CON MP leadership voting has been renewed interest in the next general election taking place this year. This has now moved to favourite on Betfair.

A challenge for a Boris-led CON party is going to be keeping the parliamentary grouping together because, if not, you could see him failing a government confidence motion at the first hurdle which, if not rescinded within a fortnight, would trigger a general election.

His challenge is the same one that TMay faced but more so – MP numbers. It doesn’t take many CON MPs to not back the government in a confidence vote for this to be lost.

His victory in today’s vote was stunning and far exceeded most expectations. It is hard to see anyone other than him entering Number 10 when this process is all over.

Maybe we will have to rethink the “rule” that long term favourites for the Tory leadership don’t make it?

The major limitation on PM Boris is now the member for Uxbridge himself. In the next week or so he mustn’t do anything that raises any doubts about his character or ability to carry out the role.

To be sure he’s going to face a scrutiny in the media the likes of which he has never faced before.

Mike Smithson


Warren moves above Sanders in the fight for the WH2020 Democratic nomination

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Now she’s got to overhaul Joe Biden

While all the focus in the UK has been on the CON leadership race there’ve been significant moves in the fight for the 2020 Democratic nomination. This comes as the many contenders, there are more than 20 of them, focus on the first national TV debates between the hopefuls later in the month. These are seen as the formal start of the campaign.

Until now just about all the polling has had former VP, 76-year old Joe Biden with a clear lead over 77 year old Bernie Sanders who out-performed expectations in the fight against Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination.  These two men, of course, have high name recognition and many argue that it is this factor behind their ratings.

Now a new YouGov national poll  shows  Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren in second place, behind Joe Biden who leads by 27% to 16%.  Sanders is further behind at 12%.

This is broadly in line  Quinnipiac University national poll that has Warren competing strongly for second place with Sanders.

What has marked out the Warren campaign has been the heavy emphasis on policy rather than just broad platitudes.

Whatever the race will look very different  in the autumn.

In the betting Betfair has Biden as a 30% chance with the Oxford-educated, Pete Buttigieg now in second place on 14% with Sanders and Warren close behind.

Mike Smithson


On Betfair alone £3.5m has already been wagered on the CON leadership fight

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

And a further £1.3m has been gambled on the next PM market

Here is tonight’s chart showing the movement on the Betfair exchange next CON leader market where the total gambled has now topped £3.5m.

There’s been very little significant movement and I don’t expect to see much change until Thursday evening when the result of the first CON MP ballot is announced. Johnson is still odds-on favourite and it will be interesting to see whether or not he has met expectations in the first ballot.

You cannot assume that not all those MPs who have made declarations of support are likely in the secret ballot to vote that way. In 2005 then favourite David David has more declarations than actual votes.

Mike Smithson


The CON leadership race is now down to ten with the first MP vote on Thursday

Monday, June 10th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

Does BoJo’s Trappist strategy speak volumes about his fitness?

So we now know the names of the CON MPs who will be on the first ballot. These are:

Michael Gove
Matt Hancock
Mark Harper
Jeremy Hunt
Sajid Javid
Boris Johnson
Andrea Leadsom
Esther McVey
Dominic Raab
Rory Stewart

All of them bar one have been out today talking incessantly about their hopes and plans whilst at the same time finding a chance to have a dig at the ex-Mayor and odds-on favourite, Johnson. The latter is apparently under strict orders from his team to not say anything publicly. The fear is that he might make a gaffe.

I’m not so sure that this approach can be sustained because he’s going to be attacked and attacked over it. You can see the argument. How can someone who can’t be trusted at this stage be allowed to become PM?

Mike Smithson



The great Betfair TMay resignation date row

Monday, 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


The extraordinary betting collapse of Michael Gove

Sunday, June 9th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

From 2nd favourite to a longshot in just a couple of days

The big political news over the weekend has been the the reaction to Michael Gove’s statement that he had in the past taken cocaine. Although other runners for TMay’s job have made similar admissions about their drug-taking pasts the Gove one has had the biggest impact. Maybe this is because it was about cocaine.

I wonder whether this will all blow over or whether he really is out of the race.

The current Johnson strategy is to keep himself at all costs away from doing TV interviews with all the risk that would involve of him making a gaffe. He only needs to sustain this for the next fortnight and he could end up with being one of the two on the ballot that goes to members.

For me the contender that has most impressed has been Rory Stewart and I thought the way he was ready to take on Johnson over some of his comments was smart. But he is very much an outsider and however well he was making his points he doesn’t get the attention of some of the others.

Mike Smithson


Addicted to Gove. The Bizarre Gove Triangle involving, Gove, cocaine, and the Tory leadership

Sunday, June 9th, 2019



Some analysis of the Tory leadership race and why the hardline No Deal Brexiteers might end up struggling in the MP stage of voting

Friday, June 7th, 2019

This analysis is great and as the final tweet implies bad news for the No Deal candidates. Of course this is on the assumption that everyone who has declared publicly actually does vote that way, that might turn out to be a heroic assumption.

H/T to Richard Nabavi for alerting me to these figures.