Betting on politics: the odds on the date of a general election

Punters are betting that a general election in Britain will happen sooner rather than later. Matthew Partridge looks at the odds.

Election party rosettes © iStockphotos

With £604,856 already matched on Betfair, punters clearly think that a general election in Britain will happen sooner rather than later. An election this year is the favourite at odds of 1.53 (65.3%). The other options are 2020 at 3.7 (27%), with 2021 at 36 (2.7%) and 2022 at 17 (5.9%) now seen as longshots. Personally, I'm very happy that I tipped an election in either 2019, 2020 or 2021, back in August 2017.

But instead of putting any more money down on it, I suggest that you take a look at another Betfair market that has sprung up on the month that the election will be held. A total of £134,789 has been matched so far. Although you can still bet on an election taking place this month or in September, the only serious options are: October 2019, November 2019, December 2019 and 2020 or later. Of these, 2020+ is the favourite at 2.86 (34.9%), followed by November 2019 at 3.2 (31.25%), October 2019 at 3.25 (30.7%) and 15 (6.7%) on a December election.

My take on this is that you can rule out a December election since voters wouldn't take too kindly to an election campaign just before Christmas. And I can't see Boris Johnson surviving as prime minister until the New Year. I therefore suggest that you should bet on an election in either October or November at combined odds of 62%. In this case you should split a £10 betting unit with £5.03 on November and £4.97 on October.

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