Sunday 7 May 2017

The Joys of Betting on the General Election

To the bookies this morning to place some bets on the General Election, or at least to try to place them.

My first port of call was Coral who are offering odds of 8/1 for Labour to get between 200 and 249 seats. I figured that was worth a fiver of my money, but the clerk behind the counter just stared at me blankly, looked at his screen, then announced after pressing a few buttons and scrolling through a few screens, that he couldn't find a horse named General Election, and could I remember which racecourse it was at?

Having patiently explained that little problem he then tried to call his head office to confirm the odds, but couldn't get the phone to work, in spite of banging the receiver on the counter several times. I told him not to worry, and that I would call back the following day.

I crossed the street and went into a William Hill's as they are offering bets on individual constituencies. It took a few minutes to explain this to the clerk, but he got the idea eventually and agreed to call his main office to confirm the odds. Eventually I was able to place a fiver each on:

Tories to take Sheffield Hallam at 10/1. Yeah, I know, it's a long shot, but it's a prayer that Nick Clegg just gets left with his arse hanging out the window, and the Tories are the only ones who can do it.

Tories to take Westmorland and Lonsdale, an 8/1 long shot, but with rather more possibility to it than the first one. Tim Farron is the MP and for a party leader to lose his seat is pretty much unprecedented. That said, the Tories are spending a lot of money on the seat, it is in a Brexit area, so if there is going to be an upset it could happen there.

Labour to hold Burnley at 7/4. The Lib-Dems are the favourites for this seat, which strikes me as crazy. Burnley is in the Brexit heartland, and Labour are now a Brexit party. More importantly, sources in UKIP tell me that having won a county council seat last week, they feel confident that Burnley will be the seat where they can do rather better than just save their deposit. They also have money to spend in Burnley and a pretty active membership. All that together should prevent the Tories from coming through the middle, so Labour looks like a good bet for Burnley.

So I managed to place most of my bets, but I am left wondering that if bookies' clerks have to have a General Election explained to them, just how disengaged people are in this most crucial election?


  1. Websites are better than the high street when it comes to non-sports betting.

  2. I'm sure you are right, and I do use the websites to get the odds. However, I'm only an occasional gambler, and only on political events, so I prefer the shops.
    The last wagers I had were on Donald Trump and I cleaned up with him!


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