UK bookmakers got it wrong

Sports book bettingBritish bookmakers were wrong with their expectation that UK would want to remain in the European Common Market. 

Gambling firms assessed the volume and direction of wagering on the issue and placed a 90 percent chance on the nation remaining in the European Union as the campaign drew to a close.

A Ladbrokes spokesman said it might just be one of those occasions where an outsider wins, according to a Bloomberg report.

The final tally showed voters backed “Leave” by 52 percent to 48 percent, sending the pound and stock markets plunging. The government’s pro-EU campaign was defeated by more than 1 million ballots, dealing a blow to the notion that betting odds provide a better guide to the direction of political events than polls.

“Is this just one of the inevitable, normal occasions where an outsider wins, or a fatal blow to the idea of betting markets as being a useful forecasting tool?” said Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes. 

Shaddick said he saw no evidence that the betting market was deliberately “manipulated.” Still, he said that bookies may have been misled by the weight of money, with more cash staked on a “Remain” vote even though the majority of bets were backing a “Brexit.”

“In an event like this, where the bettors are also participants, should we have taken account of that,” said Shaddick. “We didn’t think so, but perhaps we were wrong.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: 

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