Saturday markets update, 20th August 2005

Saturday markets update, 20th August 2005

New, moving and interesting markets this week
Trading floor
We haven’t seen too much dramatic action in the betting on British political events this week, so let’s take a weekend look further afield.

Though when we mention Helen Clark on this site, we tend to be referring to the former MP for Peterborough, there is more betting interest in her antipodean namesake. New Zealand is less than a month from its general election, to be held on 17th September. Australian bookie Centrebet will accept bets in sterling, and has a tight book with odds of 9/20 on Clark’s Labour government, and 31/20 against Don Brash’s National opposition. Betfair also has a market, but there is not much liquidity yet and the odds on both sides are poorer.

Across the Tasman Sea, Centrebet also has a market on the next general election in Australia. With the election likely to take place in 2007, this is probably one for the enthusiasts at this stage. However you can get odds of 11/20 on the Liberal/National Coalition and 13/10 against Labor. Prices are also available on the Liberal leader at the election. Current PM John “call me mate” Howard is the favourite at 33/50 to fight his sixth general election. (He lost his first election, and the party leadership, in 1987, only to make a subsequent comeback which must be a source of enduring hope to William Hague.)

The Irish-based Tradesports exchange focuses on US sports and events and includes a good range of political markets. For the 2008 presidental nominations, Hillary Clinton is the hot Democratic favourite at a probability of 43% (odds of 1.33/1). Among the Republicans, the field are closer together, but the marginal favourite is Hillary’s recent Arctic travelling companion, John McCain, at an implied probability of 19.7% (odds of 4.08/1).

You can also back the Democrats to hold the New York Senate seat in November 2006 – in effect, Hillary to be re-elected – at a probability of 82% (odds 0.22/1). For an incumbent with strong statewide approval ratings in a Democratic state, this must be good value. Bear in mind though that your stake and return are in US dollars, so British gamblers are exposed to currency risk and bank charges.

In Germany, the centre-right remains ahead in the polls, with the CDU/CSU/FDP alliance, led by Angela Merkel, looking to have a good chance of winning a majority of the popular vote on 18th September. Even failing that, it is difficult to envisage the CDU not ending up the largest party. But with the best value available on a CDU win at a modest 6/100, punters would surely need quite some faith in the predictability of politics. Tradesports offers very slightly better value, but once again this comes with the complication of currency risk.

There are no markets yet on Japan‘s 11th September election, which looks set to be closer than is usual there, with wide divisions opening in the governing Liberal Democratic party. The conventional bookies may not want to take the risk of offering odds on a subject they don’t know well, but a betting exchange would be able to offer the interested an opportunity to bet against one another.

I hope to cover some of these markets further in the next week, and comments from anyone with an interest in them would be much appreciated.

Newcomers are as welcome as regulars in our discussion section, and there is no need to register with the site – just click the Comments link below, enter a name and email address along with your comment, and it will be published.

Best of luck with your betting.

Philip Grant
Guest editor

Mike Smithson is on holiday until 5th September.

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