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PB 2018 betting review: Brexit – whether it will happen on time and the chances of a second referendum

December 29th, 2018

With brexit being just about the only political story in the UK during 2018 it is inevitable that there has been a lot of betting attention. In the charts above I feature two markets. First whether Britain will actually leave the EU as planned on March 29th and second on the chances of a second referendum.

As can be seen in the top chart punters saw Brexit not happening on the due date as favourite till the final week in March. We then had crossover with Yes it would happen being rated at at least a 50% chance right through until the start of December when TMay’s massive Commons challenges changed perceptions.

Given that if a deal is not agreed by MPs before March 29th that the Article 50 process lays down that we exit then anyway then my view is that punters have not go this right. There needs to be a new intervention agreed by the Commons to stop no deal coming about and that could be challenging.

    TMay’s strategy is to play for time. As the days run out and a no deal looks more likely then she hopes that MPs will back whatever is on the table then to avoid an automatic exit without an agreement. I think there’s a good chance she’ll succeed.

Corbyn faces the dilemma of not being seen to back the Tories and LAB not being held responsible for a no-deal Brexit. If, indeed, there is a 2019 election Labour’s going to struggle to hold those who voted for the party in 2017 because they saw it as the best way to impede Brexit.

The latter market on a second referendum was only put up in mid November when it became apparent that there was no chance of a second referendum in 2018 which was subject to an earlier market. The most the chances of the latter happening ever reached was 16.4% and it never really became active. Clearly the timings meant the chances of a referendum during the current year were very limited indeed.

The new market has seen as seen a fair amount of activity with a quarter of million pounds being wagered on Betfair since it went up. PB’s Alastair Meeks thinks it will happen while David Herdson thinks it won’t. I’m inclined to go with David.

Once again the charts tracking Betfair exchange movements are from Betdata.io.

Mike Smithson