The UK’s decision to leave the EU has cost one unlucky better £100,000 ($136,782) according to bookmaker William Hill.
It said on Thursday that a woman in London placed its biggest Brexit market bet at odds of 2/5, which would have yielded a £40,000 profit if the gamble came good.
Meanwhile, another London woman placed £10,000 on a Leave vote at odds of 11/4, meaning she made a profit of £27,500. Remarkably, William Hill said, it was her first ever bet.
Betting on Brexit was unprecedented, with bookmakers comparing interest to World Cup levels.
But, like voting polls which predicted a Remain win, bookmakers got the odds wrong — as of yesterday William Hill and Ladbrokes’ put the chances of Leave at 24% and 25% respectively.
In response to the result, Ladbrokes released a statement this morning:
The truth is that bookies do not offer markets on political events to help people forecast the results,” it says. “We do it to turn a profit (or at least not lose too much) and in that respect, this vote worked out very well for us.”
“The majority of players in the market were actually backing Leave,” it added, “but that doesn’t matter to the prices. All that counts is the amount of money. One £10,000 bet counts the same as 10,000 £1 bets. In an event like this, where the bettors were also participants (in that most of them were also voters), should we have taken account of that? We didn’t think so, but perhaps we were wrong.”
With the breaking news that Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning in the wake of Leave vote, bookmakers have now turned to who will be the country’s next leader.
Here are the current odds from Star Sports:
Boris Johnson — 4/7
Theresa May — 4/1
Michael Gove — 5/1
Andrea Leadson — 8/1
Priti Patel — 12/1
Stephen Crabb — 16/1
George Osborne — 20/1
Sajid Javid — 25/1
Ruth Davidson — 33/1
Jeremy Hunt — 50/1
Nicky Morgan — 80/1