Online Gambling Wins Big on UK's Brexit Vote

Online Gambling Wins Big on UK's Brexit Vote

The UK voted to leave the European Union through the Brexit referendum, a move that sent British stock prices tumbling amid economic worries. But where stocks were hit hard, the online gambling industry earned a hefty profit off the vote.

Many online sportsbooks offered odds on whether the UK would remain with or leave the EU. William Hill, for example, offered 4.5:1 odds on the country sticking with the EU.

Given that a £2 bet against the UK staying meant a £9 haul, those who wagered against the UK sticking with the EU won big.

As you can tell from the odds, many thought that Britain would remain tied to the rest of Europe. But after a member of Parliament who’d advocated staying in the UK was murdered, it seemed remotely possible that change would happen.

In a shocking vote, 52% voted to cut ties with Europe and go solo.

According to CNBC, this factor sparked a frenzy where investors feverishly sold the British pound ahead of Brexit. All of this instability presented a tantalizing betting opportunity for many Brits.

“The betting is just massive,” says Mike Smithson, founder of PoliticalBetting.com, who called this referendum, “The biggest political betting event of all time, anywhere.”

Tuesday and Wednesday alone saw Brexit votes draw over £3 million ($4.4 million), most of it bet at online sportsbooks, in favor of the UK staying.

William Hill predicts that the industry took in £20 million (more than $29 million) on the Brexit polls, while they hauled in over £3 million themselves.

Despite these large fortunes, the Brexit polls and other political events don’t attract a fraction of what online sportsbooks collect on football matches.

William Hill estimates that they’ll get £500 million ($735 million) in wagers on the European Championships. They also average £200 million ($294 million) on the World Cup Final alone.

The reason why political events don’t compare to major sporting events comes down to lack of variety.

“In betting terms, there are relatively few events,” said Graham Sharpe, William Hill’s spokesman.

Despite the low volume of events, it’s obvious that there’s an appetite for political betting. That said, we can expect to see plenty of bets when the U.S. Presidential Election takes place.

Bovada currently has Hillary Clinton at -320 odds of winning, Donald Trump at +260 odds, and Other at +1600.

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