Sporting Index take a six-figure bath on Leave bets
Political spread betting company Sporting Index saw unprecedented action in the run-up to Britain's EU referendum Thursday, but it was a painful night for the firm as its clients consistently favoured Leave throughout the campaign, resulting in a six figure loss for the company.
Sporting Index was the first bookmaker to offer a market on turnout and the eventual 72.2 percent figure contributed to the loss as spread bettors clearly believed voters would turn out in force.
Ed Fulton, political spokesman for Sporting Index, said: "We were getting ready to pop the champagne corks at 10pm when a Remain win looked highly likely, but by midnight the bottles were shoved back in the fridge.
"When we got to 4am it was head in hands time on the trading floor and the punters have beaten us fair and square here. On the bright side, the volume of bets for the referendum was fantastic and we look forward to round two against our customers in the US presidential election."
In related news, the UK media reported heavy stock declines on three major British gambling groups – Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair.
Ladbrokes saw its stock dive 10 percent, Paddy Power-Betfair suffered even more with a 25 percent hit, and Will Hill shareholders were out of pocket to the tune of 63 pence a share.
Fortunately as the shock of the Leave vote faded all the stocks largely recovered.
Bookies generally took something of a bath from the unexpected vote to leave the EU; the polls had shown a high probability for a decisive Remain vote and the odds from most bookmakers appeared to reflect that prediction on the run-up to the referendum.
Ladbrokes claimed to have won a little, with a spokesman advising the City AM newspaper: "We made a small profit on the referendum in the end."
Online betting company Betway fared less well, saying that it had suffered a "political betting bloodbath" following the Leave result, and reporting that just after polls closed Thursday night it was taking Brexit bets at 12/1 odds, but just a few hours later the results showed that it had sustained its biggest ever loss on a non-sport book.
"We've lost almost a third of turnover on this market, with pro-Brexit punters taking advantage of extremely generous prices," said spokesman Alan Alger. "Just like the general election, the polls got it wrong again and punters beat the bookies by sticking with their instincts."
Alger added that the Leave vote is likely to cost the bookmaking industry at least GBP 5 million.
A William Hill spokesman told City A.M. it had made a six-figure loss, while it took around GBP 2.5 million in total betting on the referendum campaign.
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