Bigger than royal baby: Brexit wagers break record for non-sporting events in UK

The referendum that marked a historic time for Britain and Europe was a momentous event for punters too.

The referendum that marked a historic time for Britain and Europe was a momentous event for punters too.

Brexit vote broke the record for gambling on non-sporting events in the UK—eclipsing even the widely popular Royal baby and previous elections in the country—with punters putting down an estimated £120 million ($159.43 million), the Financial Times reported.

Not all bookies, however, are celebrating Britain’s unexpected decision to exit the European Union.

If you recall, majority of bookies—which had been able to correctly guess two previous major UK political events—predicted last week that Britain will not leave the European Union, making the “remain” camp the odds-on favorite and shortening their odds to as much as 2/9 chance of victory.

William Hill reportedly took £3 million ($3.98 million) in bets, but ended the week with £400,000 ($531,432) in net loss. Media relations director Graham Sharpe told the news outlet that “very few saw this coming,” and that their loss was because “more people backed ‘leave’ with us than other bookmakers.”

According to the report, 69 percent of individual bets at William Hill were placed on “leave.”

Spread betting firm Sporting Index also experienced a painful Friday night with its players consistently favoring “leave” throughout the campaign, “resulting in a six figure loss for the company.”

The bookmaker was the first to offer a market on turnout and the eventual 72 percent figure contributed to the loss as spread bettors clearly believed voters would turn out in force.

The situation is different over at Ladbrokes, which made “an estimated six-figure profit” due “to smaller payouts” to the gamblers that backed “leave” albeit with small sums.

Ladbrokes average stake on “leave” was £70, while “remain” was at £400. Matthew Shaddick, Ladbrokes’ head of political betting, told Financial Times that “one £10,000 bet counts the same as 10,000 separate £1 bets.”

Paddy Power Betfair received close to £80 million ($196.29 million) in bets, telling CNN Money its biggest winner netted an average £99,000 ($131,529) on an £18,000 ($23,914) bet.

Both Coral and Betfred took an estimated £1 million ($1.33 million) in wagers, respectively. Betfred said “it made a small profit on the market,” pointing out that “all the big money came in for ‘remain’ – and the result surprised us.”

Source: Calvin Ayre

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