As British citizens hit polling stations yesterday, the UK ‘Remain’ camp were confident of victory as bookmakers priced the outcome at 1/6 at the close of polls.
The low odds would give ‘Remain’ a 90% probability outcome, as ‘Leave’ drifted to between the 6/1 – 7/1 range.
In the build-up to polling day, bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes had detailed that market activity had seen its ‘high-rollers’ back Remain which saw the market’s largest wagering sums, whilst UK punters favoured the ‘Leave’ outcome with a larger volume of single bets placed.
However, as vote count commenced at 22:00 bookmakers would soon realise that they were in for a night of political drama, as the first key region of Newcastle (North East England) would be edged to Remain by 1% margin.
The close vote cast would indicate an early warning sign for Remain camp who political commentators backed to do well in large cities marking it as battleground for EU victory.
Nevertheless, the early vote casts would indicate the theme of the night as the Leave camp would secure wide margin victories in Labour regions, where Remain would fail to gain any traction. Leave would be further aided by outperforming voter expectations in key Remain areas, maintaining close losing margins.
As voting trends were spotted, Betting markets would run wild shifting their lead between both camps. As the first 100 regions revealed their votes, bookmakers would place the camps at ‘evens’.
By 4.30, and having lost key cities Nottingham, Sheffield and Birminghan, Leave would be declared victor by 4% hitting the +12 million voter mark.
As shocked bookmakers returned to their desks this morning, UK news sources have questioned why the industry has now failed to call four political outcomes in succession (Scottish Referendum, UK General Election, Greek EU Referendum and BREXIT).
Speaking to SBCNews Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen commented on the market
“The Referendum result undoubtedly poses new questions and we must take time to understand and work through the full implications for our business and the betting industry before making knee-jerk reactions. We will take up the challenge of ensuring we build on the momentum we have in our business which all our colleagues are fully focused on delivering.”
Nearly all UK bookmakers confirmed that the ‘EU Referendum’ market had beaten all previous political betting t records with wagering levels reaching £100 million, making the market comparable to the Cheltenham Gold Cup.