Brexit breaks betting records but bettors left shocked

Many woke up in shock today as it was announced that the British public had voted for a Brexit.

Naomi Totten, Betfair
Naomi Totten, Betfair

It was a historic day for bookmakers as it was for UK politics, with the amount of trading on the day saw the event reach a political betting highs. The Betfair Exchange EU Referendum market reached a record £127m of traded volume. The closeness of the polls and the volatility of the market meant that trading boomed right up to the final whistle when it was clear that Leave had taken the victory. Over £85m was traded on polling day alone.

Leave didn’t become the favourite until around 2am.

For much of the day, and up to polls closing at 10pm, the implied probability from the Exchange gave the ‘Remain’ campaign up to a 94% chance to win. Betfair’s implied probability had tallied correctly with the final result of the US Election in 2012 and the Scottish Referendum in 2014, but here the position began to unwind at 2am on Friday when the early results began to filter through. Leave then became favourite for the first time at 3:00am.

Naomi Totten, Spokeswoman for Betfair, said: “The EU referendum market drew a remarkable amount of interest, most notably on the day of the vote itself, trading over £85m. In normal circumstances when a market is showing this much confidence in a result, the probability dictates that it will happen. But this referendum market was as extraordinary as the result itself and Betfair punters were left stunned by the market reaction.”

“At one point after the Sunderland result had been announced, there was more than £5-10k being traded per second on the market, which is absolutely huge. In contrast, Cheltenham Festival races trade around £2k per second.”

Boris Johnson is now the frontrunner to become the next Prime Minister after David Cameron resigned this morning.

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