Playing the Election Date game

Playing the Election Date game


    An ideal opportunity for betting exchange novices.

The new market Betfair, has just opened on the date of the next UK General Election offers good profit opportunities and provides a vehicle for people not used to this form of gambling to learn about betting exchanges where notions like “the election date” can be traded like a stock or share. The “runners” are three month segments running from now until 2006 when Tony Blair has, by law, to go to the country.

Given that it’s almost an open secret that Tony Blair has pencilled in 05/05/05 as “the day” it’s not surprising that the April-June 2005 segment is the heavy favourite. But although we think that this is right we are going to suggest that for the moment, at least, that you bet against this segment. There is a very good chance that events and speculation will force the price lower, when you can reverse your bet at a profit.

    For whenever we get past the three year point in a Parliament there’s constant speculation over the date and the April-June 2005 price is likely to bob up and down and it’s these movements where money can be made and lost.

You can envisage dozens of different scenarios when columnists will suggest that Blair has decided to go early or go late and these are likely to affect the price of the April-June 2005 segment. Thus if the Euro elections go better than expected for Labour, and the Conservatives lose out badly to UKIP, you can see the “experts” suggesting that Tony Blair might make the most of the opportunity and go to the country early. This would give him the perfect chance for him to, in his famous phrase, “draw a line” on the war and what’s gone before. If it goes badly for him on June 10 then you might hear suggestions that the date has been put back until October 2005.

And what if there is, after all, a change of Labour leader with Tony Blair announcing that he’s going in July after ten years in the job? Gordon Brown becomes the “shoe-in” candidate and September’s Labour Conference is his coronation. Could not Gordon Brown then call an immediate General Election while he’s still has the unique electoral appeal of “Not being Tony Blair”? The possibilities are endless.

    The art of playing this market is to go in and out at the right price and reach a situation where you make a profit whatever happens.

At the moment we think that LAYING (betting against) April-June 2005 at 1.35-38 offers reasonable opportunities. So if you laid at £100 at this price you would be risking just £35. You win if the election is earlier and you win if the election is later.

What you are doing is accepting a bet at £100 and you have to pay out £35 if the backer is right. If the Election is not in this period then you win the backer’s stake – £100. But this is about playing for the short and medium term. If speculation forced the price to 1.7 you could back at £100– so that the layer would pay you £70 if the date is correct. Thus you would get your £35 back and have potential winnings of £35 at no further risk whatsoever. On the other hand if opinion hardens up further on April-June 2005 and the price moves to 1.3 you can get out by backing at this price and you lose just £5.

This might sound complicated but it isn’t – and once you get into a market like this you find yourself making endless bets and lays as you try to maximise your position from changing sentiment over the General Election date.

What’s good about this market is that downward price movements are likely to be gradual but upwards price shifts will be by big jumps. What you are doing here is seeking to profit by forecasting how you think others political gamblers will view the situation in the short and long term. If you have never tried the betting exchanges before this is a good market to start on and we will be reporting it with betting novices in mind. But beware, this is highly addictive!

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