PB election countdown: the Tories slip on the spreads

PB election countdown: the Tories slip on the spreads


    The markets now suggest a majority of just 26 seats

Our latest Friday evening general election countdown slot is devoted to the spread betting markets on the number of seats each of the parties will end up with – something which with all the focus on the by elections we have not looked at for a month.

With both Spreadfair and the SportingIndex markets there has been a distinct move away from the Tories and both markets are now suggesting a Tory majority of just 26 seats. In the aftermath of Boris’s victory in London at the start of May this was up to 50 seats.

Our calculation is made by taking the mid-points between the two numbers above. For the Tories that is now 339 seats or just thirteen more than the 325 that Cameron will require to be certain of a majority government.

If you are betting here you either “buy” at the higher figure or “sell” at the lower one. So a Tory buy at today’s 342 level would produce a profit/loss of your stake multiplied by the difference between this and the eventual outcome. So if Dave only gets 300 seats and you had bet at £20 a seat you would lose 42*20 = £840. If the Tories secured the 400 seats that some recent polls have suggested then the difference between your trade and the outcome would be 58 seats. Multiply that by your stake level and you would pocket £1,160.

What’s great about betting with SportingIndex and IGIndex is that they let you open online credit accounts so that you don’t have to put a penny up front. Even better if you think that you can anticipate the way the markets will move you can close a position down at any time. If your prediction has been right you can pocket your profits straight away. In the past year I have transferred to my bank account £8,000 in profits from gambling on the commons seat markets alone.

This is where ahead of previous general elections the big gambling has taken place and it’s really only for those with confidence in their predictive abilities and deep pockets should it go wrong. I recalled a couple of months ago the story of a former Number 10 staffer who had backed Labour at £100 a seat at the 332 seat level in the euphoric atmosphere of September 2007 when everything was going well for Brown. Look at the prices above and you see how much he is now down.

The feature of the markets at the moment is the disconnect between what the spread markets are trading at and the sort of seat levels suggested by recent polling. The same thing happened with Labour ahead of the 1997 election. Nobody quite believed the polls then and those who were confident in Labour made a killing

If you are tempted into this form of betting and want to open an account with SportingIndex please click on the link. The site receives commissions from the firm which help towards our running costs.

Next week on PB Election countdown: The geography of the next General Election – a repeat of an excellent piece by Blair Freebairn last year showing the characteristics of marginal seats. It was highly praised at the time and gives a unique insight into the battle-grounds.

Mike Smithson

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