These days, online sportsbooks in the UK let punters wager on quite a lot more than sports. Whenever a major cultural or political event takes place, chances are the major bookies will cover it. This week, records were broken as people flocked to the country’s top internet betting websites, wagering as much as £40 million on who they picked to win, smashing the previous record of £20 million.
The major draw for bettors was the fact that nobody quite new who would win. This uncertain outcome sent record numbers to online sportsbooks where they put money down on the event. Hundreds of wagers were offered – some bookmakers even offered odds on all 659 constituencies.
According to Ladbrokes, the most popular bet was on a hung parliament, closely followed by wagers on a Tory overall majority. Ladbrokes also reported that some prospective MPs were backing themselves, though one Lib Dem MP found his bet fall through after his credit card company blocked his payment, thinking the card had been stolen when it was used to fund an online sports betting account.
Paddy Power saw some interesting action too – they took a £10,000 bet on the Conservatives to win Chesham and Amersham at 1-100, which is an unusual wager considering it can only net a £100 profit.
William Hill, another group that offers internet betting in the United Kingdom, was so inundated by extra business yesterday that they kept their phone betting lines running all through the night.
The results are not all in yet as of early Friday morning, but it looks like the Tories will gain an overall majority. Paddy Power has said that if the Tories win the most seats, they will face the need to pay out more than £100,000.