Tuesday, November 2

Bettin on the man

Brits bet record sum on US election

10 minutes ago

LONDON (AFP) - British punters have bet eight million pounds (12 million euros/15 million dollars) on the outcome of the US presidential election, an absolute record surpassing all predictions, bookmakers said.


"There will be up to eight million pounds gambled on the outcome with British bookmakers, which is double what was bet at the last US election," said a spokesman for one of the biggest companies, William Hill: "This has been the biggest betting foreign election we have ever known".

Last week the bookies estimated that the total bets placed would surpass the five million mark, but the number of bets placed as the campaign drew to a close exceeded expectations.

A Chicago supporter of President George W. Bush (news - web sites) flew into London to place a 25,000 dollar bet on his choice for President in a William Hill betting shop.

Bush was still favourite Tuesday, but last-minute betting shifted in favour of his challenger John Kerry (news - web sites).

"A late surge of hefty bets for John Kerry to win the US Presidential Election could see him become clear favourite for the first time during the entire campaign," said Graham Sharpe of William Hill.

Some punters were betting on a dead heat with 269 each of the 538 members of the US electoral college, while 270 is needed for victory for one or other candidate.

British punters have also been betting heavily on the outcome in undecided individual US states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida.

"We're down to the last four states which is basically Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin," said David Buik, marketing director with Cantor Index, one of the biggest British betting firms: "Now Wisconsin basically goes to Kerry unless the calculation goes wrong."

"He might get Iowa, but we don't think he'll get Ohio or Florida."


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