Betfair pays out on 'No' vote win for referendum

Why does Betfair think the result is a foregone conclusion? And what do the other betting firms expect?

Updated: 
Scottish independence referendum

Betfair has announced that anyone who used its Betfair Sportsbook to place a bet on a 'No' vote in the Scottish referendum, will receive payout today, as it is confident that the Scots will vote to keep the union together tomorrow.

The payout is just for users of its Sportsbook side of the business - a traditional bookmaker it launched last year. So the majority of Betfair users (the ones that use the much larger exchange) will still have to wait and see.

Why?
The payout has been made because Betfair is convinced there is no chance of a victory for the Yes vote.
This flies in the face of recent polls, which suggest the vote will be very close. Polls have predicted narrow wins for each side at various stages over the last few days.

However, Betfair has made its decision based on the views of people using its betting exchange. In the exchange, it doesn't take any of the bets itself, it just matches punters up so they can make bets with one another. It means it can tell easily exactly what punters are predicting.

The company said in a statement: "We've decided that 'No' is most likely to be the winning vote in three days' time, so we've put our money where our mouth is." It added: "To put the current prices into context, Betfair's markets gave Mitt Romney more of a chance of beating Barack Obama in 2012, than Alex Salmond currently beating the No campaign on Thursday."

In fact the figures show a 79% chance of a No vote. Even at its lowest, when a poll for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail put the yes vote in the lead, more than 69% of gamblers still believed victory would come for the No vote.

It added: "Political bettors have often favoured the Exchange as their choice of betting platform and it has historically provided an accurate prediction of political outcomes. Paying out early on our Sportsbook is testament to the esteem in which we hold the illustrious track record of our Exchange."

Alternatives
If you're determined to risk a sensible amount of your money (in the full understanding that you could easily lose it all), then you can still place a bet on the outcome.

William Hill is offering 2/11 on a No vote and 19/5 on a Yes, while Ladbrokes is offering 1/5 on no and 7/2 on yes. That's a fairly clear sign that they are also predicting an overwhelming No vote.

Paddy Power is also offering 13/2 on the Scots using the Euro by 1st January 2020, and William Hill is offering 3/1. William Hill is also offering 25/1 on the Scots devising a whole new currency, while Paddy Power offers 6/1.

William Hill lets gamblers choose the area they think will have the biggest Yes vote - ranging from 4/6 for Dundee, to 100/1 for East Dumbartonshire. In the same market Ladbrokes offers 4/5 for Dundee and 100/1 for East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire.

Paddy Power is offering 8/11 on a turnout of more than 83% - and evens on a turnout lower than that. Meanwhile Ladbrokes is offering 9/4 on a turnout of more than 85%, and 66/1 on a turnout lower than 60%

Of course, some in the No camp would claim that the real gamble is a Yes vote - when serious considerations like the currency remain an unknown quantity.

But what do you think?

TOPICALOL: Scottish Referendum: A 'Trainspotting' Guide To The 'No' Vote


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