Who says that gambling and politics make strange bedfellows? As the world is aware of by now, the residents of Scotland have voted to remain under the rule of Queen Elizabeth as part the United Kingdom. This comes as a bit of good news for some betters, and really bad news for a bunch of hopeful punters who were willing to put their money where their vote was going.
In anticipation of heavy betting action, major bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes set lines and took wagers on the outcome of the vote. Polling data was certainly used to establish the line, but chances are that popular sentiment played a part as well. In the end, the "no" vote was favored at 1/4 with the "yes" vote listed at 3/1.
All bookmakers across the region reported heavy betting in the days leading up to the vote. According to William Hill Spokesman Graham Sharpe, "We obviously expected a fair amount of interest - but exceeding £2m in betting turnover - equivalent to the last General Election and US Presidential Election added together - has made this an unprecedented event in political betting history."
He later revealed "The £800,000 was placed in one of our South West London betting shops and will return £973,000 to the client if successful," referring to a £800,000 wager placed by a gentleman betting on a "No" outcome.
Premiere League soccer has long been the most popular wagering option for British residents, pulling in huge numbers for bookies on a week-to-week basis during the season, which is currently underway. For this one short period of time, politics took center stage and everyone with a vote seemed to want to a little action as well.
In the final three weeks of wagering, the "yes" option was receiving significant play as independence advocates were rallying voters causing the difference in the polls to start shrinking. In anticipation of a close vote, "yes" voters were running to the bet shops on their way to the voting sites. As Edinburgh gambler, Giacomo Matramga put it, "A lot of people are betting on it because they're interested."