There are only six weeks left till the EU referendum, and polls are increasingly close. The odds still favour Remain, so the best gamble is to bet on the Britain leaving the EU
On June 23rd, the UK will vote on whether to leave the European Union. Those who favour leaving (the “Leave Campaign”) are gaining ground in polls, but online sportsbooks in the UK still favour Remain (the campaign to stay in the EU). If you want to bet on the EU referendum but don’t know what it’s all about, read our beginners guide!
Why it might be crazy for Britain to leave the EU
Bet on EU referendum at Bet Victor
- Odds on Britain leaving the EU
@ 3.20 (11/5)
- Odds on Britain not leaving the EU
@ 1.36 (4/11)
If Britain votes to leave the European Union, there will be many consequences; not just for Britain, but worldwide. Questions will immediately arise as to which nation will be next to leave; the European project will look less stable than ever. The Scottish, more inclined than other regions to support EU membership, will likely seek another independence referendum of their own. Millions of British ex-pats across Europe will worry that they will have to return home. And numerous trade agreements will cease to apply, leaving British business isolated and likely considerably worse off.
The European project allows British people to work and travel freely within an entire continent. It has also contributed to the most peaceful decades in European history. While many feel strongly European, most arguments for remaining point to the negative consequences of the alternative.
Furthermore, many in Remain consider those who want to leave as scaremongers who decry the evils of immigration, blaming the country’s economic woes on Eastern Europeans taking jobs at the expense of locals. The Leave Campaign blame the country’s ever-rising house prises and critically-stretched public services on overpopulation precipitated by EU membership. The counter-argument, heard on the left, is that immigration is stimulating an economy hamstrung by austerity, with foreign workers vital for staffing poorly funded public services, and not to blame for the government’s inaction regarding the housing shortage.
Why some still want the UK to leave the EU
There are, however, legitimate arguments for considering Leaving the EU. Even those supporting “Remain” don’t see the EU as anywhere close to perfect. There is a glut of bureaucrats in Brussels making laws without even an attempt at transparency, let alone a veneer of democratic procedure. The handling of the Greek debt crisis was a ruthless assertion of financial prerogatives to the detriment of citizen’s welfare. And the EU’s latest deal with Turkey to send refugees back to the Middle East is a neglect of humanitarian responsibility.
The “Leave” campaign claim that staying in means slowly giving up on British sovereignty. They accuse European bureaucrats of insidious colonisation through fastidious legislation, claiming that while the EU is churning out screeds of regulations by which member states must abide, Britain can no longer be said to be governing itself.
It is undeniable that European legislation has touched many facets of British life: it has mandated health warnings on cigarette packets, more extensive labels on food products, compulsory car boosters seats for children, and many more health and safety regulations. One particular area of conflict was the European Court of Justice’s ruling that Britain’s complete ban on votes for prisoners was unlawful. While the Leave campaign suggested this was indicative of Britain’s inability to self-govern, pro-EU voices have celebrated the upkeep of human rights.
The politicians you should know before betting on the EU referendum
The most strongly Eurosceptic party are the UK Independence Party (UKIP), headed by polarizing ex-banker Nigel Farage, who will face Prime Minister David Cameron in an upcoming televised debate. While Farage has been a leading figure in garnering nationwide anti-EU sentiment for several years, he has been usurped somewhat in his role as chief nationalist agitator by leading members of the Conservative Party.
While Prime Minister David Cameron favours remaining, he has allowed senior cabinet members the freedom to oppose his position. Notable “Leave” figures include Lord Chancellor Michael Gove and former party leader Iain Duncan Smith, who recently resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Most prominent however, is the outgoing Mayor of London: Boris Johnson. Until the campaign began it had been assumed that he would support Remain. It has been suggested that his decision to oppose Cameron’s position is motivated by political opportunism: if the vote goes the way of Leave, Cameron will surely resign, leaving Boris (rather than Remain-supporting chancellor George Osborne) most likely (according to online sportsbooks to assume the position of Prime Minister.
Although the majority of prominent politicians favour Remain, Leave does hold much support amongst the Conservative backbenches. Cameron had hoped that by acquiescing to their desire for a referendum, he could close the question once and for all, thus keeping the party intact. It remains to be seen whether his gamble will be proven wise. Much was made of his trip to Brussels in February attempting to renegotiate a better deal for Britain: he hailed it a remarkable success, but the concessions granted were mostly symbolic.
Why odds suggest the UK will stay in the EU
While various EU member states have held plebiscites in which stronger integration was rejected, a nation voting to leave the project entirely would be unprecedented. The tendency in referenda is for the conservative case to be underestimated in the polls. People may be tempted by change, and eager to express their dissatisfaction with the establishment, only to be swayed by fear of the consequences in the polling booth. In the case of the recent Scottish referendum, the campaign for independence actually briefly led prior to voting, only to fall short by a deficit of 10%. Current polling suggests that Remain’s safe status quo is more popular, which would likely result in a definitive victory.
Why you should bet on Britain to leave the EU
Boris and Farage are public figures who naturally attract a lot of publicity, which means they’ll have plenty time to spread their arguments. In televised debates, their populist message may well sway opinions. Gambling news is already reporting that polling support for Leave is strengthening. It is only a matter of time before odds for Britain to leave the EU fall.
Elections can be decided by voting turnout, especially when it varies between demographics. Though most fervent Remain supporters tend to be young, who often don’t vote in such high numbers. The elderly tend to have the highest turnout, and if they support leaving, it could decide the election.
The best chance for Leave are events suggesting that the ‘conservative’ position is actually exiting the union. If there is a major terrorist event in Western Europe, or if the next few months bring a barrage of stories about the “threat” of refugees, then undecided voters may be won over by the idea of closed borders. In that case, bet on Britain to leave the EU.