Betting on politics: the hottest markets

Jacob Rees-Mogg is the bookies' favourite to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, says Matthew Partridge.


Jacob Rees-Mogg: the bookies' favourite
(Image credit: 2018 Getty Images)

By the time you read this magazine, the UK's local elections will be over, which makes it a good time to look at the hottest markets on the two main betting exchanges: Betfairand Smarkets. Unsurprisingly, the fate of the US president seems to be uppermost in everyone's mind. While bettors think Trump will survive his first term, it hasn't stopped them wagering £1.13m on which year he will leave the White House, or from betting £1.02m on whether he will leave before the end of his first term or not.

In third place, £825,371 has been traded on the identity of the next Conservative leader via Smarkets (and £260,848 on Betfair). Both betting exchanges have Jacob Rees-Mogg as the favourite. Fourth is who will succeed Jeremy Corbyn £440,839 has been wagered on Betfair, with Emily Thornberry in pole position. The date of Theresa May's departure is also pretty active, attracting £190,954 in bets on Smarkets alone. In sixth place, punters have bet £145,902 on Betfair on the identity of the next prime minister, with Rees-Mogg the favourite at the moment.

Bettors on Betfair have punted £118,398 on whether we will be leaving the EU by March 2019 on average, they expect a 60% chance of Brexit, while £92,438 has been bet on Betfair as to who will get most seats at the next general election, with the Conservatives currently the narrow favourites (the local election results may affect that). Just over £73,000 has been traded on control of the US House of Representatives after November's mid-term elections; punters expect the Democrats to win. Finally, tenth place in terms of betting market activity goes to guessing the year of the next general election, with £46,080 bet on Betfair.

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri