Betting on politics: how many seats can each party win in a general election?

Markets are now open on the number of seats that each individual party could win at the next election. Matthew Partridge takes a look at the odds.

Nicola Sturgeon © Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament via Getty Images

Even after recent regulatory changes designed to limit the risk to the punter, financial spread betting remains a multibillion-pound industry. Spread bets are an easy way for retail investors to take punts on price moves that would otherwise require you to buy exotic financial instruments, but you can also spread bet on politics. Sporting Index has an open market on the number of seats that each individual party could win at the next election, for example. As in ordinary spread betting, you buy or sell seats and then make (or lose) the difference between the purchase price and the final amount, multiplied by your stake per seat.

So if you buy Labour at 230 (the current buying price) at £1 per seat, and they get 300, then you make £70. If you sell at 222 (the current selling price), then you lose £78. If you think that the price no longer offers value you can close your position by selling (or buying) an equivalent amount to your original bet. There is no upfront charge, the spread-betting firms make their money on the difference (or spread) between the buying and selling price.

At the moment Sporting Index thinks that the Tories will fall short of a majority, but remain the largest party, at 302-310 seats, and that Labour will lose seats, slipping to 222-230. At the same time it expects the SNP (the party's leader, Nicola Sturgeon, pictured) to advance to 45-49, the Lib Dems to rise to 44-48, the Brexit Party to get 4-5.5 and the Greens2-3. I'd wait until an election date has been decided before placing any bets.

Recommended

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021
Take a bet on this infrastructure specialist
Trading

Take a bet on this infrastructure specialist

Morgan Sindall will profit from higher infrastructure spending as we emerge from lockdowns. Matthew Partridge picks the best way to play it.
30 Mar 2021
DR Horton: US housebuilder that's piling up profits
Trading

DR Horton: US housebuilder that's piling up profits

US housebuilder DR Horton’s stock rests on firm foundations and looks cheap. Matthew Partridge looks at the best way to play it.
26 Feb 2021
Trading: short Snowflake, a company with its head in the clouds
Trading

Trading: short Snowflake, a company with its head in the clouds

Cloud-computing company Snowflake is absurdly overvalued and its bubble is starting to burst. Matthew Partridge picks the best way to play it.
15 Feb 2021

Most Popular

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021
What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
Bitcoin

What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

As the bitcoin price hit new highs, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, listed on the stockmarket. John Stepek looks at what that m…
15 Apr 2021
Lab-grown meat: the new agricultural revolution
Soft commodities

Lab-grown meat: the new agricultural revolution

Vegan alternatives are taking off, but the future of food technology lies in lab-grown meat – cultivating steaks and burgers from animal cells, says A…
16 Apr 2021