Where are the “Will Alistair Go markets” of today?
There was a time when the hot activity in the political betting markets was on the Betfair betting exchange. This was driven by a series of innovative betting propositions that caught the imagination of punters.
Would Alistair Campbell survive his grilling at the Hutton inquiry?; what were the survival chances of Geoff Hoon?; would Greg Dyke hold onto his job as Director-General of the BBC?; was IDS’s position as Tory leader totally doomed. All these and more were on offer a little more than a year ago.
The exchange came into its own on the day of the “no confidence” vote on IDS. You did not need to watch the news programmes to find out what was going on – all the action was displayed on the moving markets on your computer screen. With an hour before the voting closed the price on David Davis being the next leader suddenly moved out from about 5/2 to 10/1 and all the money started going on Michael Howard. Someone knew something and the cash was piling on.
One market remains from this period – who’ll still be party leaders at the General Election with options of none, Blair, Kennedy and IDs and any combination of the three of them this became the place to punt when Blair was in trouble and when the rumour mill started against Charles Kennedy. It’s still there but there has been nothing new like it for nearly a year.
The Betfair of old would have had well thought out markets on David Blunkett, George Galloway and the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown spat.
For punters the unique betting exchange advantages of being able to back and lay gave an added interest that is simply not replicated by conventional bookies like William Hill.
What’s happened to the company? Is it trying to be respectable ahead of going public? Or have the brightest market creators gone elsewhere.
Alongside the great political betting markets of old was a good forum – a sort of forerunner for Politicalbetting and a number of those who used to post there now contribute here.
The danger for Betfair is that it is leaving the market wide open for an innovative competitor to take its place. It was the best betting exchange – it’s now the most boring. Let’s hope that some new group can take up the mantle – the success of this site shows there’s a great interest.