The bookies seem to have got their sums wrong over their General Election Seats Won Markets by ignoring the seat changes in Scotland.
At the next election the number of Westminster seats is being reduced from 659 to 646 following a Boundary Commission review to bring the size of Scottish constituencies into line with those in the rest of the country. This is a long overdue reform that could have a big impact on the final result.
With 55 of the 72 Scottish MPs at the last election Labour are most vulnerable and are bound to lose at least ten of them.
Yet looking at the prices offered by the spread-betting firms and the seat markets by the normal bookmakers this is being ignored. They all seem to have based their markets on the 659, not 646, seat Parliament. Thus adding the mid-points of the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem seats in the Sportinginex spread you get a total of 635. Add on the 29 non-main party seats last time, including Northern Ireland, it’s clear that they are operating on the old basis – not the new.
Punters will be most affected in Labour seat markets although the lone Tory seat north of the border looks as though it will go as will one seat each from the SNP and the LDs.
The changes have still to be finally confirmed but they will be given the force of law before the Election.
With the parties running neck and neck in the polls the abolition of 10 Labour seats might have a big impact – even taking away Blair’s overall majority.
For punters a “sell” Labour bet on the current spread price might be worth doing – because once they find out the price might have to be adjusted downwards. With the “normal” bookies the 4.5 on Labour getting anything less than 335 seats looks good value.