Betting on politics: the hottest markets

Jacob Rees-Mogg: the bookies’ favourite

By the time you read this magazine, the UK’s local elections will be over, which makes it a good time to look at the hottest markets on the two main betting exchanges: Betfair and Smarkets. Unsurprisingly, the fate of the US president seems to be uppermost in everyone’s mind. While bettors think Trump will survive his first term, it hasn’t stopped them wagering £1.13m on which year he will leave the White House, or from betting £1.02m on whether he will leave before the end of his first term or not.

In third place, £825,371 has been traded on the identity of the next Conservative leader via Smarkets (and £260,848 on Betfair). Both betting exchanges have Jacob Rees-Mogg as the favourite. Fourth is who will succeed Jeremy Corbyn – £440,839 has been wagered on Betfair, with Emily Thornberry in pole position. The date of Theresa May’s departure is also pretty active, attracting £190,954 in bets on Smarkets alone. In sixth place, punters have bet £145,902 on Betfair on the identity of the next prime minister, with Rees-Mogg the favourite at the moment.

Bettors on Betfair have punted £118,398 on whether we will be leaving the EU by March 2019 – on average, they expect a 60% chance of Brexit, while £92,438 has been bet on Betfair as to who will get most seats at the next general election, with the Conservatives currently the narrow favourites (the local election results may affect that). Just over £73,000 has been traded on control of the US House of Representatives after November’s mid-term elections; punters expect the Democrats to win. Finally, tenth place in terms of betting market activity goes to guessing the year of the next general election, with £46,080 bet on Betfair.

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