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.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

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.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/trading/600685/trading-catch-this-coach-company
Trading

Trading: catch this coach company

Bus and coach operator National Express has expanded into promising markets abroad – and it looks cheap
28 Jan 2020
Visit/520181/how-the-fear-of-death-affects-your-investment-process
Investment strategy

How the fear of death affects our investment processes

Many of our investment decisions are driven by one simple fact: the knowledge that, one day, we will be dead. Here, in an extract from his new book, J…
2 Jan 2020
Visit/520060/the-good-and-the-bad-investments-of-2010s
Stock markets

The good investments of the 2010s – and the bad

John Stepek takes a look back on which investments did well and which did badly in the decade that’s about to come to an end.
26 Dec 2019
Visit/519397/how-to-plan-for-the-general-election-result
Stockmarkets

How to plan for the general election result

John Stepek looks at the potential outcomes of Thursday’s general election and explains what each would mean for markets – and what you can do to prot…
10 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Visit/economy/uk-economy/600837/rishi-sunak-new-chancellor-spending-splurge
UK Economy

Britain has a new chancellor – get ready for a major spending splurge

The departure of Sajid Javid as chancellor and the appointment of Rishi Sunak marks a change in the style of our politics. John Stepek explains what's…
14 Feb 2020
Visit/economy/600814/money-minute-friday-14-february-the-latest-from-rbs-britains-state-owned-bank
Economy

Money Minute Friday 14 February: The latest from RBS, Britain's state-owned bank

Today's Money Minute previews results from RBS – Britain’s state-owned bank – and from pharma giant AstraZeneca.
14 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/property/600826/living-on-a-houseboat-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-floating-home
Property

Living on a houseboat: the pros and cons of a floating home

Living on a houseboat sounds romantic and peaceful. But it’s not as straightforward as it looks, says Nicole Garcia Merida
14 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/600729/the-rare-earth-metal-that-wont-be-a-secret-for-long
Sponsored

The rare earth metal that won't be a secret for long

SPONSORED CONTENT – You can’t keep a good thing hidden forever; now is the time to consider Pensana Rare Earths and the rare earth metals NdPr.
31 Jan 2020