What will Westminster-lite do for the spread markets?
Saturday’s opening of the Scottish Parliament building is a timely reminder that the boundary changes north of the border at Westminster will have a big impact at the General Election, particuarly on the number of Labour seats.
Until now Scotand has sent 72 MPs to Westminster from constituencies that have an average of 55,000 electors compared with 70,000 in England. Boundary changes have reduced this to 59 and it’s been worked out that if this had been in place in 2001 then Labour would have been down 10 MPs with the Tories, Lib Dems and SNP losing one seat each.
If the General Election is as tight as some are forecasting then the loss of 10 Labour seats could be the difference between a majority and a hung parliament.
The big probem for gamblers is that the markets seemed to have been operating on the basis of the old 659 seat Commons not the new 646 seat one and many bets have been made on that asumption.
One of the spread companies, SportingIndex, does not reflect the changes. LAB 338-346: CON 208-216: LIBD 72-77. Taking the mid-points and adding on the Irish, SNP/PC seats, the Indpendent, and you get to a 658 seat Commons.
Prices on the other big company, IG, are LAB 338-346: CON 203-211: LIBD 70-75. and have been gradually reduced the with the result that the two main markets are out of alignment. Choose your bet then choose your company.
IG has said that their prices are determined by market pressure – there were simply more buyers across the parties than sellers. If this is the case then it is punters who are causing the anamoly – which creates both a problem and an opportunity.
Thus with the numbers being inflated across the range then SELL bets will be much better value than BUY ones. You have to be particuarly careful with Labour buy contracts
We think that at the very least the spread companies ought to have a note attached to their market information stating that these changes are planned.