Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Another week starts and Thornberry continues to struggle finding CLPs to back her

Monday, January 27th, 2020

Keir Starmer: 44 Rebecca Long-Bailey: 18 Lisa Nandy: 10 Emily Thornberry: 3

As can be seen the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, continues to find the going tough in her effort to get on the members’ ballot. She needs 33 constituency parties but following her early rush she remains stuck on three. .

It had been thought that following the success of Nandy, Long-Bailey and Starmer in getting over the line then constituency parties might look at her position more positively. That might still happened but so far there’s very little indication of that .

The problem is that the rigid time scale means means that every batch of local party meetings that goes by without her getting nominations makes her task even greater and the chances are that she isn’t going to make it.

I cannot work out who benefits most from her absence on the ballot. I don’t think it will be Long-Bailey whose team has been pushing very hard over the past week with UNITE throwing its weight behind her campaign.

Meanwhile the money continues to go on Starmer who is now at a record high of a 76% chance in the betting on Betfair.

Mike Smithson


Warren and Klobuchar get key newspaper endorsements Iowa and New Hampshire

Monday, January 27th, 2020

But Bernie and Biden still top the polling and betting

The weekend has seen the leading papers in first two states to decide give their backing to Senators Warren and Klobuchar. In Iowa its the Des Moines Register that is going for Warren while in New Hampshire the Union Leader goes for Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Historically this does matter and according to Fivethirtyeight the DMR’s backing has been worth an average boost of 4% in previous races.

My guess is that the biggest beneficiary with these moves is Klobuchar who has been really struggling in the polls and has yet to have a breakthrough moment. I don’t think she has ever been higher than fifth. Her great strength are that she is a centrist and is just 59 years old. The four ahead of her – Bernie, Biden Bloomberg and Warren – are all in their 70s. The Union Leader says:

“If there is to be any realistic challenge to Trump in November, the Democratic nominee needs to have a proven and substantial record of accomplishment across party lines, an ability to unite rather than divide, and the strength and stamina to go toe-to-toe with the Tweeter-in-Chief. That would be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She is sharp and witty, with a commanding understanding of both history and the inner workings of Capitol Hill.”

Multi-billionaire Bloomberg is not really competing in these early states and is focussing on Super Tuesday on March 3rd. I am planning to be in California for its primary on that day.

Mike Smithson


With 49 CLPs now having decided just under two thirds are going to Starmer

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Keir Starmer: 32 Rebecca Long-Bailey: 7 Lisa Nandy: 7 Emily Thornberry: 3

After what has been the biggest night so far of CLP meetings the overall picture is looking broadly the same and the big outstanding question is whether the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry will make the cut.

Thanks to the excellent @clpnominations for his regularly updated Twitter feed for what is actually going on at the branch meetings keeping up an excellent running total of the LAB nomination race. His chart above gives a good geographical spread.

The big picture is that a consistent trend appears to be happening with just under two-thirds of constituencies going for the former Director of Public prosecutions and Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer. RLB and Lisa Nandy are currently level pegging on 7 with Emily Thornberry down at just 3.

The Twitter account of @clpnominations and many of the responses are a good place to look for the latest news and get a sense of the passion and feelings within the movement during this critical transition period.

What is clear is that those constituencies which nominated Corbyn in both 2015 and 2016 are sticking with with his chosen successor Long-Bailey while those that didn’t nominate in the last two leadership elections or went with candidates other than Corbyn are getting behind Starmer or Nandy.

We cannot assume that the constituency nominations are a good guide to how people will vote once the membership ballots goes out out in March but given the polling there’s little doubt that Starmer is worth his 69% chance that he’s been currently rated on the Betfair Exchange.

Mike Smithson


Bloomberg launches his latest ad attacking Trump during the President’s favourite TV show

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Trolling Trump

Inevitably this led to a Twitter explosion from Trump who has now dubbed the multi-billionaire as “Mini Mike Bloomberg”. According to Politico this is part of a deliberate strategy by Bloomberg who is benefiting in the polls as a result

It’s the latest example of how a plank of Bloomberg’s campaign revolves around agitating the president, who has increasingly begun criticizing his former mayor from New York, a self-made billionaire who has spent years belittling Trump as a bad businessman and reality TV star. Bloomberg also made sure to match Trump in advertising during the Super Bowl, a roughly $10 million endeavor for both campaigns. Bloomberg’s ads are hard to miss. He has so far spent a jaw-dropping $250 million on TV commercials, many of them attacking Trump. In a primary that’s focused on defeating the incumbent, being on the receiving end of Trump’s ire is seen by many Democratic voters as a positive. As a result, Bloomberg has started to climb in polls of both the crowded Democratic primary and in general election matchups against Trump.”

In the betting Bloomberg is now the 11% third favourite behind fellow septuagenarians Biden and Sanders.

Mike Smithson


Is PaddyPower right not to pay out now on these “2020 or later” bets?

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Quite often punters contact me about disputes they are having with bookies and this is a case where I think the bookie, PaddyPower is wrong. The bets the punter made were:

  • When will Donald Trump cease to be POTUS? ‘2020 or later’
  • When will the next IndyRef take place (in Scotland)? 2020 or later’.
  • When will alien existence be proven? ‘2020 or later’.

In all 3 cases he expected PaddyPower to pay out after New Year’s Day. It is now 2020 and the events set out in the bets have not happened. After giving PP more than a fortnight he queried via Live Chat and was told that they won’t settle because the bet says ‘2020 or later’ and the event hasn’t happened at all yet so the bet hasn’t won.

I totally agree with his contention that this is unfair and the bet may never settle with this interpretation, and basically that in context the bet clearly implied it was ‘Not before 2020’. He’s now escalated this to the Escalation Team at PaddyPower, the step before IBAS – the external arbitration scheme.

I’ve long since stopped betting with PaddyPower after an argument over how a bet should be settled. It appears that too often the firm is putting up betting markets with the intention of generating media coverage rather than betting.

I’ll report back if I get news of any development here.

Mike Smithson


Looking at when Boris Johnson’s tenure as Conservative Party leader will end

Sunday, January 12th, 2020
Boris Johnson exit date market on Betfair as at 8pm on 11th of January 2020.

Recent history suggests Boris Johnson will not see out a full term.

It seems churlish to be talking about Boris Johnson’s exit date a month after he won a majority of 80 but two out of the last three Conservative leaders to win a majority didn’t see out a full term (and the third one was said to be in office but not power leading to a devastating defeat for the Conservative Party at the next election) so winning a majority for the Conservative party doesn’t ensure political longevity.

The last four Conservative Prime Ministers have seen their Premierships either ended or destroyed because of the United Kingdom’s relationship with our European neighbours and you can see it happening again. As David Herdson noted yesterday Brexit isn’t going away and it is likely to be the biggest domestic issue of 2020.

As we can see in the tweets above even Boris Johnson’s own advisers are expecting Boris Johnson to disappoint Leavers, the evidence is strong for that supposition. Just look at his comments in 2018 when he said a UK Prime Minister never could or should put the border in the Irish Sea, then in 2019 that’s exactly what he did. If Boris Johnson takes Brexit in a direction that the Leavers/ERG aren’t happy with then they might seek to oust him.

I’m reminded of the fact that when Johnson was Mayor of London ‘[Boris Johnson] loved to be loved and found it so hard to say “no” that aides never allowed him to meet Bob Crow, the transport workers’ leader, lest he gave away the store.’ when you add in that desire to be loved he might end up acquiescing to the EU to get a deal done, he didn’t do anything to stop Brexit being delayed in October 2019 because deep down I’m guessing he knew the dangers of a sustained No Deal Brexit.

Apart from Brexit there’s other way for Boris Johnson to leave office unexpectedly, he seems to be a scandal magnet because of his love life. Those who know him well offered him the advice to ‘lock up your willy’ when he was contemplating running for London Mayor. It isn’t difficult to envisage a scenario when the Prime Minister’s willy might lead to a career ending incident.

As far as I can see Betfair are the only bookies offering a market on Boris Johnson’s exit so I’m tempted to take a nibble on the 14s on 2021 being Boris Johnson year of departure, but this is currently a very illiquid market, hopefully we’ll see more bookies offering odds on this market.



Will the Conservatives increase their majority at the next election?

Sunday, January 5th, 2020


Ladbrokes have a market up on the Conservatives increasing their majority at the next general election. I can understand why some will want to back the 4/1.

Boundary changes would see the Conservative majority increase to around 104 if the vote shares remained identical at the next election and if Labour choose electoral Ebola in the form of Ian Lavery then this bet looks like a winner.

I’m always wary of markets where the bookmaker doesn’t offer the other side of the bet add in that there so many unknowns, inter alia,

  • Who will be the Labour leader? Will they be a Corbyn clone or chose a leader who will move to centre ground where Labour have won majorities in the last forty six years?
  • Will Brexit turn out to be a success, a mistake, or just a bit middling?
  • How will the economy perform between now and the next election, I cannot see a cyclical recession (or a Brexit related recession) help the Conservatives increase their majority.
  • What kind of government will Boris Johnson deliver?
  • How much time will the Red Wall seats that switched to the Conservatives give Boris Johnson? 

There are a few other unknowns I could list but these are the main ones, so for me it is no bet at the moment, I am sure 2020 will bring a few 4/1 or better bets that will pay out a lot sooner than 2024.



Starmer now firm odds-on favourite to succeed Corbyn

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

Inevitably the YouGov poll of Labour members that came out last night has had a big impact on the the Corbyn succession betting. That the former Director of Public Prosecutions who has only been MP since 2015 has such a clear leading the poll is impacting on the betting and it is hard seeing him being beaten.

Inevitably as well there has been the criticism of YouGov from some factions on the left who persistently criticise the firm. I think this is crazy and over the years as a gambler have relied on the firm particularly for leadership races where their record is very good.

YouGov has the biggest database for its online polling and when people join they are asked if they are members of political parties. This is what it has used for samples like in the latest poll.

The next step in this race is for Labour’s NEC to agree the rules and set out the timetable.

Mike Smithson