Since Cameron’s Conservative Party claimed a shock majority in last year’s general election, we’ve experienced an intense build-up to the UK’s European Union Membership Referendum. This week, voters of the UK will either maintain or reject its EU member state status after more than 40 years of trade and co-operation. Up to lunchtime on Monday, the odds say 1/4 to vote In (Remain campaign), and 3/1 to vote Out (Brexit) – driven by a significant new surge of bets on Remain.
Paddy Power has found that high-stakes punters seemed cagey about taking the Leave odds until recently, even at generous odds like the 9/2 that was available at the end of May this year.
In mid-June, two big polling outfits reported 7% leads for Leave when excluding undecided voters. This represented a marked success for the Leave camp, because decided voters for Exit were growing whilst Remain numbers were static. Even then customers appeared to be reluctant to accept the trend. We struggled to sell Exit at 3.5 for days. We even attracted several five-figure sums on Remain at odds between 1.18 and 1.22 during those days.
Eventually there was a take up of the Leave odds as the delayed effect of the polls was finally felt, but considering the consistency of the apparent popularity for Leave in the polls and the press, the odds did not settle as short as one might expect. In the last seven days, Exit odds dropped as low as 6/4 before stabilising at 9/4.
The big guns are out now, and punters have wagered a whopping £500k this. Two single bets of £30k were placed on Remain at odds of 1/3 – the betting support for Remain is huge and shows no signs of faltering.