Political Betting: A 21st Century History

Political betting is all the rage these days, with more and more bookmakers offering markets on upcoming elections and referendums. Wagering on these events has become increasingly popular with punters too, and not just because the bookies have lost millions in the wake of shock results. 

Scroll down as we look back on political betting in the 21st century, and reveal some of the biggest upsets in history:

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In the olden days politicians were universally treated with respect and admiration at all times. In the modern era ‘respect’ and ‘politicians’ are two words that seldom seem to belong together! The line between politics and showbiz is so blurred these days that it’s barely distinguishable, and politicians seem to be judged as much for their personalities as for their policies.

Over the past decade or so online sports books have begun to notice that their punters want to wager on more than just football, horse racing and golf. They also want to bet on who’s going to win the latest series of Britain’s Got Talent, which flick is most likely to pick up the academy award for best picture, and which country is the shoo-in to take the crown at the Eurovision song content.

That interest in betting on ‘other things’ frequently stretches to politics too. Recent years have seen a huge number of decade-defining political events, and political punters have (probably) both lost and won thousands on unexpected political outcomes. Here’s a quick look at three recent political events that haven’t gone as the bookies quite expected.

  • 2015 – It’s a hung parliament … oh no it isn’t!

There was one thing that all political commentators seemed to agree upon coming up to the 2015 General Election in the UK – the result was simply too close to call, and a hung parliament with no overall majority was a certainty.  At one stage the odds on a hung parliament were as tight as 1/16 (1.06).

However, the UK woke up on May 8 to find David Cameron was still the Prime Minister. Both Labour and the LibDems had suffered huge losses, with Labour being wiped out by the SNP in Scotland, and the Tories taking thirty-seven percent of the vote. It seemed David Cameron would remain as PM until 2020 … or would he?

  • 2016 – Britain loves Europe … or does it?

As part of the Conservatives’ 2015 Election manifesto David Cameron had promised a straight in/out vote on the UK’s place in the European Union. That vote duly took place on 23 June, and most bookmakers were inclined to agree that the UK would make the choice of remaining as part of the European Union. At one stage ‘Brexit’ was offered by Ladbrokes at 5/1 (6.00).

By five o’clock the following morning the result had become clear – nearly fifty-two percent of voters had decided they wanted out of Europe, as opposed to the forty-eight percent who wanted to remain. It looked like the bookies had gotten it wrong again.

  • 2016 – The US welcomes its first female president … oh no it doesn’t!

The rest of the world sat back and sniggered at businessman Donald Trump’s efforts to become the 45th President of the US for most of 2015 and 2016. Leading sports books were offering odds as wild as 150/1 (151.00) that the orange-faced, oddly-coiffured one would end up seated in the oval office come the end of 2016.

Despite mocking a disabled reporter, making disparaging comments about woman, refusing to release his tax returns and one thousand and one other scandals, it was a Trump Triumph when the dust settled.

What is likely to be the next political event the bookies are odds-on to call incorrectly? The next UK general election? George Clooney to become the 46th POTUS? The UK to change its mind over Brexit only to find the rest of the EU refuses to let them back in?

Whatever your political leanings you can keep an eye on political betting events right here at CasinoUK.