Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Betfair punters now put the chances of a 2019 Brexit referendum at 40%

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Inevitably much of the current UK political betting activity has been focused on Brexit and particularly whether or not we are going to see a second referendum before the end of next year. As can be seen sentiment has been changing and although the “won’t happen” option is still favourite it is getting tighter.

It is the “what happens if, as appears likely, the December 11th Commons voting goes against the government” question that’s driving it. Maybe we could get a situation where a second referendum is the only political option open to get away from the current deadlock.

    One thing that’s coming from Theresa May is the determination to avoid a No Deal Brexit and if she is still around early in the New Year after struggling with the Commons then maybe you could see even her backing the idea.

After all she’s changed her mind on similar big matters before. Remember her strong opposition to an early general election on weeks before she called GE2017. Labour, as we all know, have been very divided trying to maintain an equivocal stance that is all things to all men and women.

Mike Smithson


It’s now down to an evens chance in the betting that the UK will leave the EU on March 29th

Friday, November 30th, 2018



How is this going to go?

Given the huge uncertainty that  hangs over Theresa May’s Brexit deal it is no wonder that punters are getting more nervous when risking their cash on the market that the UK will leave the EU on March 29th next year.

Back in October on Betfair the chances of this happening looked much greater and the betting trades that were taking place had this at a 71.4% chance. That’s now hovering about 50%.

Clearly everything has changed dramatically since the publication of the deal and the response to it. We are hearing claims that perhaps 100 Tory MP will rebel on December 11th when the critical vote in the Commons takes place. Given that they’re likely to be joined by almost all the other parties in the house then it is looking very unlikely, at the moment, that this will pass.

But a huge operation is taking place to try to win Tory MP dissidents round to the PM’s assertion that this is just about the best deal that’s possible. Day by day, it seems, another senior Tory cabinet minister makes their views known that they are backing her.

What should be worrying ministers is if an amendment is patched together between the various Commons factions opposed to the deal that manages to gather sufficient support to be adopted when the votes take place.

What happens if Theresa May cannot get her agreement through is unclear. Will she go back to Brussels, agree some cosmetic changes and return it to The Commons? Will it be the trigger for the moves to have a second referendum? Or are we heading for a No Deal and all the consequences at the end of next March?

Also is Mrs May going to survive as PM? Punters make it a 25% chance that she’ll be out this year which sort of assumes that there’ll be a CON MP confidence this side of Christmas.

Mike Smithson


Survation-Daily Mail poll finds growing support for TMay’s Brexit deal

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Now more support than oppose

The big overnight Brexit news is a Survation poll for the Daily Mail conducted yesterday which is being splashed all over its front page as can be seen above.

The big news is that on comparative questions there has been a significant increase in those supporting the deal compared with similar questions which were put by Survation in a poll on November 15th.

Clearly this is good news for Theresa May who has started to look beleaguered following the reception the agreement has been getting from party MPs. The general favorability to Theresa May on this issue is in broad line with the Times YouGov polling that was published in the middle of last week.

No doubt the Conservative whipping operation at Westminster, which is facing it’s biggest test for years, will be using these numbers as it seeks to persuade wavering party MPs to fall in line.

    Mrs May is being very much helped by the very different approach being taken by the new editor of The Daily Mail who replaced Lord Dacre in the summer. I doubt if the latter would have commissioned a poll like this and even if he had done he certainly wouldn’t have been giving it front treat front page treatment as above.

The 39-42% LAB voter split on how MPs should vote might help lead the party, to do what many have been predicting, to abstain when the big vote is taken.

The Betfair price on TMay going this year has dropped from 30% last night to 28% this morning. Back on November 15th it was 60%.

Mike Smithson


Punters rate TMay’s chances of getting the Brexit deal agreed by MPs this years at 14%

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

This represents something of a recovery!

Unlike one or two of her predecessors I am not aware that Theresa May follows political betting and the way the odds are changing. If she had have done she would have noticed about 6pm this evening the chances of her getting the brexit vote agreed before the end of the year was down to 3.3%.

Since then has been something of a recovery and now on Betfair it’s trading about 14%.

But we are really waiting for some polls. Some of the TV coverage talking to members of the public finds a more sympathy for the prime minister’s position than you get from MPs. Is that reflective of opinion?

Anecdote is no substitute for proper polling where a structured approach to assessing opinion has been handled with a sample that represents the population as a whole.

Mike Smithson


Beto O’Rourke, third favourite for WH2020, gets closer to putting his hat into the ring

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Is he the white Obama?

The biggest UK political betting market continues to be the US presidential election in 2020 and overnight there have been big developments with Beto O’Rourke saying that he isn’t rulling out a bid.

He had said on repeated occasions that he would not seek the Presidency at the next election but in a town hall meeting last night in his home city of El Paso he suggested that he is now open to a presidential run. This is a significant shift from his remarks on the matter before the midterm elections on November 6th.

He came to prominence during that campaign for his hugely successful fundraising and for running the incumbent Ted Cruz a very close second in a state which has been dominated by the Republicans for decades.

    If the betting is anything to go by then the nomination flight is between O’Rourke and the California senator Kamala Harris who is just favourite at 17% compared with O’Rourke at 15%.

His senate campaign received a huge amount of publicity ahead of November 6th and he became very much a favourite of the liberal left within the party because of the energy of his campaigning and his strong views on healthcare and immigration. The former became the number one issue in the midterms following the efforts by Trump to undermine Obamacare.

Bernie Sanders, the elderly former favourite has now slipped to sixth place in the betting on 6% and Beto backers will surely hoping that the ageing socialist from Vermont and his energetic base will support their man. I know many PBers, including myself, are on the 46 year old Texan at considerably longer odds than you can get now.

There is still an awful long way to go. Generally potential candidates put their hats into the ring in the first half of the year before the presidential election and the action starts the following January.

This latest news will help prospective campaign funders as well as Democratic party campaign professionals who had been waiting on news from O’Rourke before deciding who to back in the primary campaign.

Mike Smithson


On the eve of the critical Mississippi senate election Trump’s approval ratings plummet

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Meanwhile the Mueller investigation gets closer

Tomorrow sees the final chapter in this year’s midterms with the runoff for the Senatorial place in Mississippi. Today the president is attending two mass rallies in different parts of the state in the hope of shoring up his core vote ahead of the election.

This is one that Republicans should really hold. It is in a solid “red state” and the expectation is that the party will be able to see off a hugely determined campaign by the Democrats. The current split in the Senate is 52 to 47 and if the pundits are right tomorrow should see that increase to 53 seats.

In the meantime a big shadow is hanging over the White House as the investigation into possible links between his WH2016 campaign and Russia. More indictments are expected by the day and this is getting very close to the incumbent and or members of his family.

He has reacted with anger and aggression taking on a Bush Supreme Court appointee who is now the Chief Justice.

All this might have driven the big drop in his approval ratings from Gallup. As the chart shows he’s now at just 38% approval with 60% disapproval number. Although his base remains loyal Trump needs much more than that.

Mike Smithson


The bookies open the Commons deal betting making rejection the odds on-favourite

Monday, November 26th, 2018

But read the terms of the market

After yesterday’s historic agreement attention now turns to whether the House of Commons is going to accept what Mrs May has agreed with the EU.

Several bookies have markets up at all of them with opening odds that the deal will be rejected. Betway has it at 1/3 that this will be the outcome and also that Theresa May is just 10/11 to be replaced during 2019.

Betfair has launched what I think is a more interesting exchange market on whether the deal will get through the Commons this year. Note that YES will be a winner even if a first vote is a rejection. The critical element is it going through before the end of the year.

In all politics markets it is always wise to read the precise definition for the avoidance of doubt. These are the Betfair market rules:

Will the House of Commons vote through a government motion to approve a EU withdrawal agreement and accompanying political declaration before the end of 2018?

For the purpose of this market any vote by the House of Lords does not count. If the House of Commons vote through the government motion on a EU withdrawal agreement then Yes will be settled as a winner.

If a first vote on the government motion was defeated the market will still remain active as any subsequent votes on a government motion to approve a EU withdrawal agreement and accompanying political declaration will count. The market will only be settled if/when a motion is voted through by the House of Commons or 2018 comes to an end.

Currently the Betfair market has it has a 74% chance that the proposition to accept will be rejected this year.

My view is that ultimately the deal will be accepted but I’m less certain that that is going to happen in the remaining weeks of 2018. The current 25% price is probably just about a value bet and I might have a wager.

The excellent historical betting price site has just included this in the markets it is covering and no doubt I will be referring to that a lot in the coming days and weeks.

Mike Smithson


Betting on Tuesday’s final midterms showdown – the Mississippi senatorial run-off

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

The contest that’s evoking look backs to the Civil War

It might be 3 weeks since the US midterm elections but there is a lot still to be settled. One of the interesting features from a British perspective is that some States seem to take an enormously long time to actually count the votes and not all the California seats in the house have been resolved yet.

Meanwhile in the state of Mississippi with its long history of difficult race relations there is a Senate runoff on Tuesday which has a evoked lots of memories and images of the past which the Democrats are trying to exploit. This from NBC.

They see an opening – however small – after the Democratic party’s special election victory in Alabama last year. A comment by the GOP incumbent, Hyde-Smith campaign about attending a “public hanging” while running against her black opponent raised the state’s history of lynching. This has put her on the defensive in the campaign’s final weeks.

That the runoff is taking place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has raised doubts about turn out on either side. Inevitably there’s been little campaigning activity. It is like holding a Westminster by-election just two days after Boxing Day.

The runoff is happening because no one candidate achieved 50% of the vote on November 6th and maybe, just maybe, in all the circumstances the Democrats might just have a fighting chance.

The campaign has been characterised by lots of look backs to the state’s history. The latest from CNN was that the GOP contender “once promoted a measure that praised a Confederate soldier’s effort to ‘defend his homeland’ and pushed a revisionist view of the Civil War”

I’ve been trying to find a suitable bet on the longshot Democrats and have got 13 to 1 on Betfair that the Republicans overall will win 52 seats in this year’s senate election. That will be their total if there is a shock in Mississippi.

Mike Smithson