Is there any value in what Ladbrokes are offering?
Tomorrow morning I’ve been invited to meet senior bosses at Betfair to discuss political betting issues in a session that PB regular, Nick Palmer MP, helped to arrange.
One of the items on my agenda will be the lacklustre markets that the exchange now offers and to suggest that it might like to run something similar to what Ladbrokes are offering on which of the three party leaders will be first to go.
Because potentially you could be locking up your cash for years such a betting offer is ideally suited to exchange betting where you can move in and our of positions by backing an option and then “laying” – that is betting that the suggested outcome will not happen.
In the 2003-2005 period Betfair created a wonderful political betting opportunity when punters were asked to predict which leaders then in place would still be there at the time of the general election. The options were IDS-Blair-Kennedy, Blair-Kennedy, IDS-Kennedy, IDS-Blair, Blair alone, IDS alone, Kennedy alone and none of them.
For nearly three years the prices on the different options fluctuated wildly as one leader after another was deemed to be in trouble. Thus it became a great market to play during the moves to oust IDS in the months after the 2003 Tory conference and also in the days after the 2004 budget when Charles Kennedy had to absent himself at the last minute.
The latest “first to go market” looks really interesting but the nature of punting with a traditional bookmaker makes it unattractive.
I happen to think that Ming has a much better chance of surviving at least one of the others than the 1/5 on offer. But my only betting options are to lock up my stake money with bets on Brown and Cameron.
If this was on Betfair I could lay Ming and then, possibly, get part of my stake money back if the sentiment moved in his favour.
If such a market was operating this morning no doubt there would be a bit of money going on Cameron as the internal ructions over the grammar school policy continue to reverberate and a mysterious Mori poll finding reported in the Observer that came out well for Brown.
Only a scrap of information has been made available – that 54 per cent, believed Brown is better placed to run the economy, compared with 27 per cent for Cameron. This does not appear to have been commissioned by the paper and there are no details about it on the Ipsos-Mori website.
My guess is that it is from a private poll commissioned by one of the bodies associated with Labour or Brown and only selective data is being released. Certainly Labour MPs seemed to have news of it yesterday morning.