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Scottish Referendum divides Ladbrokes and William Hill

December 26th, 2012 / lee

There is an unseen battle going on between two of Britain’s largest bookmakers with Ladbrokes and William Hill punters taking different sides of the proposed Scottish referendum in 2014. The two betting sites do agree that it is more than probable that the Scottish people will vote to remain in the UK, but if that happens, then the two betting sites will come out on different sides. Ladbrokes and William Hill are suggesting that there is around a 60% chance that voters will sway to stand their ground in the United Kingdom, but the bookies will be split.

Ladbrokes will be the winner, with 90% of stakes on the market with them in line to lose if the Scotland stays as it is. It is a different story though across the way at William Hill who would end up having to pay out on the majority of bets placed on the market with them.

“So far about 4,000 pounds ($6,500) to 5,000 pounds have been wagered, which is more than expected for a small politics market like this,” Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue said in a telephone interview on Dec. 20. “By the time of the referendum, it could reach six figures.”

There has been an increase in the number of people who want to keep the status quo, with support waning for the policy of independence set forth by the Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous Government in Edinburgh. Throughout 2012, the gap between wanting independence and staying with the UK has been as close as just 11 points in favour of standing pat, but the gap is now at its widest point of 28 points according to recent polls.

Betting site William Hill are quoting odds of 1/3 that the voters will indeed keep their ties with the UK, with odds out at 9/4, that the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond will get the win in the referendum that he wants. While the majority of bets on the Scottish referendum at both Ladbrokes and William Hill are backing Scotland to stay in its current position, it is likely that an influx of bets will come closer to the time.

William Hill’s major rivals Ladbrokes are quoting 5/2 for Scotland to gain independence, with odds of 2/7 to remain part of the United Kingdom. There was a recent flurry of activity on Scotland gaining independence though, forcing Ladbrokes to suspend betting for a while in order to recalculate their odds. Back in October, Ladbrokes were offering odds of 4/1 for “Yes” vote, and 1/8 for it to be a resounding “No.” Experts believe that that could have been a wave of patriotic bets.

In the market, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power’s punters have taken a different stance, with the majority of wagers on the Scottish referendum there going on a “Yes” vote. The odds on Scotland agreeing on independence has actually been shortened by Paddy Power from 7/2 back in August into 5/2 at the moment. The odds on Scotland holding on to the UK has been lengthened from 1/4 to 1/6.

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