Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Has the fat lady sung already?

I see that in a rather opportunistic manner that the Betfair Sportsbook has already settled the 'No' bets in the Scottish Independence Referendum 'Majority' market. As over £10M has been matched on this market on the Exchange I doubt that too many people took whatever their Sportsbook offering was and to me it's little more than a cheap publicity stunt.

I have no strong feelings one way or the other as to whether our friends north of Hadrian's Wall wish to still be part of the Union or not, but I do find this kind of thing irksome and,for want of a better word, 'unfair'.

The Exchange has historically proven to be a more accurate political barometer than opinion polls. The last US Presidential market,for example, called the race much more accurately than the 'too close to call' reports we read about in the press and saw on the TV. This might well prove to be the case with the Referendum as well, but to trivialise something which so many people are quite clearly passionate about by calling it a done deal is, in my opinion, beneath the standards to which a company such as Betfair should be operating to.

I've been dabbling in the market for ages, even putting a post up on the forum at Geek's Toy about it way back in April. When the recent 'shock' poll put the 'Yes' campaign slightly ahead I was able to remove all my liability and leave a nice profit on 'Yes'. Since then we have witnessed a fantastic coming together of the British establishment, not to mention multi-nationals, central banks and others with forebodings of woe should the Jocks say 'Yes' tomorrow. I wonder whether this very negative campaigning might not cause the odd dour Scot to stick two proverbial fingers up at Westminster and say 'Aye'.

Any profit I might yet make on this market now lies, I feel, in the hours after the polls close at 10pm tomorrow night. I await the exit polls with a sense of anticipation, but with no loss should the status quo prevail.

I'm sure books have paid out on 'racing certainties' in between, but the last instance I can actually remember was in 2008. Stoke City had just been promoted to the Prem and had a fairly turgid time of it at the start of the season. At least one sportsbook paid out on 'Stoke to be relegated' very early on in the season. They finished twelfth.