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Wings Over Scotland

A sure thing?

Posted on June 30, 2013 by

While browsing the Trade Unionists For Independence page earlier today, a story from the website of SNP Paisley MSP George Adam caught our eye. We’re unable to verify its claims, but since that wasn’t a problem for the entire UK media over Susan Calman, we offer it as an item of interest anyway. We might just give William Hill and Coral a ring tomorrow and check it out for ourselves.

“I was very surprised that one of my constituents wanted to show me his betting line, but after he explained the situation I became very interested.

My first thoughts were that I was happy that he had almost as much confidence as myself in Scotland winning independence following next year’s vote.

I was then told that he had tried to put a £1000 bet on the referendum outcome at William Hill in Gilmour Street in Paisley. After a member of staff made a few phone calls the constituent was told that the maximum amount they would accept was a bet of £250. This from the same chain of shops that accepted a £200,000 bet on a ‘No’ vote.

This is not the only betting shop to refuse a bet, according to my constituent. Coral in Gauze Street in Paisley refused a £2000 bet and would only allow a wager of £200 to be placed, once again after phone calls to management.

It seems both these large chains are happier to accept money for the ‘No’ vote. I think they’re more confident of holding on to that money.

Our emphasis, of course.

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    66 to “A sure thing?”

    1. The Water Beastie says:

      ‘Follow the money’, as they say…. 🙂

    2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      My understanding of the bookmaking process is that it is reactive and essentially dispassionate.
      That is to say, if someone places a bet on a certain outcome the odds on the outcome are adjusted to ensure that should that outcome happen they will not be out of pocket. Essentially bookies never really lose, they just don’t make as much money in certain outcomes.
      The question really should be is, how do they start the process of establishing odds when there are not enough bets to weigh up. That would have to be based on previous outcomes in similar circumstances, say like the pattern of bets on the 2011 Scottish election and the surge in the SNP’s vote as the campaign took off.
      I am not sure whether we are really in the early phases of finger in the air odds. I don’t bet but is there any great difference on the odds being offered by different bookies on the same bet type.
      What would certain is that the bookies would be following soundage polls and be preparing to react very quickly to more money being placed on a particular outcome. They may in fact be commissioning their own polls on the QT, if they thought the money to be placed would be significant.
      I wonder if a lot of quiet small money has gone on the SNP and the trend is continuing. The one big NO bet placed a few weeks ago would be hedged out, of course but, if the graph is rising on the Yes side the bookies will want to get ahead of the curve.
      Overall my take on the story, if it is true, is that the bookie, Coral, expects the odds on a Yes to shorten as money pours as Yes bets.

      They are reading the Runes.

    3. Albert Herring says:

      I believe most of the money so far has been for YES, therefore the book will now be unbalanced, hence the bookies’ caution. I would expect to soon see falling odds for YES.

      The over 35.5% for YES @ 5/6 seems the standout bet to me – free money!

    4. pmcrek says:

      Anybody who has worked in the industry know if this is a common occurrence? i.e. is this over and above normal operating procedure? At face value it seems very strange however I have zero inside knowledge of the how the industry normally goes about its affairs.

    5. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Alternatively, the conspiracy version is that
      The entire UK bookie industry is being manipulated wrt the odds on the outcomes of the Referendum in order to manipulate the voters to vote No?
      Naw, that would as impossible as a major newspaper continuing to print anti independence paish and keich as their sales goes down the S bend at a near terminal velocity.  Wait a minute

    6. Roboscot says:

      Maybe folk are betting in favour of the result they don’t want, that way they can’t lose, or hedging their bets. 

    7. scottish_skier says:

      Polls would support a shift starting to develop in earnest. Just wish we had more data to work with.

    8. annie says:

      O/T does anyone know what exactly Graeme Pearson said regarding Alex Salmond security getting bits and pieces on twitter but can’t find story or quote.

    9. Krackerman says:

      Annie – this –
      Well past time given Currans “under a bus” comment…

    10. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      annie says:
      30 June, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      O/T does anyone know what exactly Graeme Pearson said regarding Alex Salmond security getting bits and pieces on twitter but can’t find story or quote.
      I think you will find it in the Sunday Herald written by Paul Hutcheon.
      Can’t give you a link though as I tend to get my ears cuffed here for doing that sort of thing.


    11. Krackerman says:

      Oooops – i’ll get me ears cuffed now.

    12. annie says:

      Thanks guys – found it now.

    13. Iain says:

      @ annie

      Pearsons hit the ground running in the SLAB bile stakes. Had to laugh (wearily) at his comment in the Herald story:

      ‘Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said: “This shows where the First Minister’s priorities lie. We have cuts to support staff, which means police officers are behind desks instead of out on the beat, but he’s more concerned about his own safety rather than that of communities across Scotland.”‘

      That’d be Scottish Labour who in its GCC guise okayed the big Orange parade that’ll be taking 750 cops out of normal service and cost £500,000?

    14. Andy-B says:

      In my opinion bookmakers very seldom get it wrong, hopefully this bodes well for a winning vote for independence next year, I think I may even burst my piggy bank and put my £1.50 on a YES!

    15. john king says:

      well bugger me
      I cant my eyebrows to come down

    16. Andy-B says:

      Salmonds Security, good point, I often wonder sometimes, (Though its speculation), If Robin Cook, John Smith and Dr David Kelly, met their timely demise, by the hand of some secret service, rather than the MSM’s run of the mill, bluster, but when you look at how the CIA has replaced many PM’s, Presidents Etc, in South America and around the world, the possiblity is there.

    17. Vronsky says:

      Was out for the Yes mob yesterday, bidding everyone good morning and handing out leaflets.  Was fascinated to discover that Scotland is the only place on the planet (and probably in this quadrant of the universe) where if you ask people if they want to govern themselves, they think it’s a horrendously complex question and they’d like more detail before committing to an opinion.

    18. Marcia says:

      Take that as an encouranging sign. Decades ago when we went canvassing in Dundee we were considered not part of the mainstrain political system and the voters almost patted you on the head with a comforting hand and even offered cups of tea. Once we won the Hamilton by-election in 1967 the mood changed. Instead of cups of tea you were almost spat at. We had become a political threat.
      People are now starting to think about the Referendum at last. I think we have moved a good few away from the automatic No that more of my age group is renowned for. I met an old colleague at the bus stop today and we discussed how were coping and what we were doing in retirement. He being an old Tory in his past political life surprised me to say ‘I think we will be better off if we vote for Independence.’

    19. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      On betting I suggest everybody goes into the nearest William Hill’s tomorrow and backs YES at an incredibly generous 4/1.(£5 return on a £1 bet) Corals is offering a shorter 0/30 (£4.33 on a £1 Bet) and Paddy Power is offering 7/2 (£4.50 on a £1 bet)
      Ladbrokes have stopped offering odds on the result. They lost a very large sum on the 2011 election having swallowed the unionist spin and offered 11/2 an SNP win and they are not likely to make the same mistake again.
      They are however offering a 5/6 bet on YES getting over 36% of the vote. This is money for nothing! 
      My intention is to go and put a weekly bet on YES. If it stays at 4/1 I will collect a very useful lump sum on the 19th September next year with which to fund my celebrations.
      If somebody was to put on £20 per week at those odds for YES to win you would be collecting the best part of £7000 next September 

    20. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I was a counting agent at Hamilton and the hate was palpable as the night wore on and it became clear we were winning. Until then  we had been treated as friendly and harmless – but there was no anti independence sentiment in most of the Scottish Labour Party then. That hate grew as we took power from them. I don’t think there is much anti independence sentiment in Labour support today either. This is mainly restricted to those with a vested interest or position in the union.

    21. naebd says:

      I imagine the vast majority of bets will be on Yes. Could this be making bookies reluctant to increase their exposure by taking even more bets, hence measures like a £200 ceiling on Yes bets?

    22. Tris says:

      This ties in with the article on Stephen Noon’s blog where he says that sophisticated polling done by the Yes campaign shows a much more cheerful outlook than the published polls would have us believe.

    23. Angus McPhee says:

      Surely they tend to balance the bets. essentially in a yes/no situation the odds and maximum bids are not based on what they think will be the outcome but on what bets have been made already.  no matter what the outcome, they will pay out less than they have taken in. All we can take from this then is that more  people are betting on a yes than on a no or that the odds given are different, not that they think one is more likely

    24. Iain More says:

      I think the bookies took a hammering at the Holyrood in 2011. I know I made a very nice three figure sum. I wasn’t the only one. I even had a gamble of SNP winning NE Fife seat. Some of the odds were just too good to pass up. It would have been 4 figures profit if I had got my seats they would win bet right. The Bookies wouldn’t even take my bet in 2007 on Salmond winning his constituency fight at all. There is a moral in there somewhere?

    25. heraldnomore says:

      I listened to  trade unionist David Durkin at the LFI/Yes Clydesdale event in Lesmahagow on Friday.   He had plenty of encouraging words from the shop floor in an excellent night.  Canavan richly deserved his stabding ovation; Alan Bissett superb as host.  Hope and momentum.

    26. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Iain More
      Indeed. I believe Ladbrokes lost a seven figure amount. I had some at 11/2 and 5/1 but they woke up late.
      The 5/6 “above 36% for YES” in Ladbrokes is stealing money in my opinion but I’m not well padded enough to take great advantage and I suspect it will soon disappear as an offer anyway
      For the uninitiated bookies nowadays are usually pleasant and well appointed premises in which you can get a cuppa tea as they try to entice you into giving them your money. 5/6 means that for every £6 you bet you get £11 back when it wins. I’ve I’d had a spare £200,000 like that eejit last week that’s where my money would have gone. He will lose his money of course but even if he didn’t he would have been almost as well leaving it in an interest bearing bank account. His possible profit is only £36,000

    27. Train fares says:

      This is normal operating procedure for all large bets in the bookies. The amount ‘large’ is relative to the niche. In my time working for Labrokes any bet on the horses over £1000 had to be phoned in and passed. I never took a policatal bet but I’m pretty sure a £250 bet would be phoned in and the No guy would certainly have had his phoned in.

    28. Matt says:

      Even weirder, William Hill will give you odds of 6/1 on Scotland becoming “fully independent” by 2020, but only 4/1 on us winning the referendum. Evidently they think there is a (quite high) chance of us winning the referendum but then not being allowed to become independent. Either that or they are just going to make up the rules as they go along, with their definition of “fully independent”.

    29. Dave Smith says:

      I reckon it’s worth a punt.
      BTW, if Eck needs a bodyguard I’ll happily offer my services. I’m deadly with a rolled up copy of The Scots Magazine!

    30. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Yes. I noticed that. Gorals are even more generous with 13/2 about that eventuality. I don’t understand it unless they imagine Westminster will try to block the result. I think we should be told

    31. Dave Smith says:

      If Westminster tries to block it, it will attract the attention of the wider world and I doubt it would end well for London.

    32. Jiggsbro says:

      Either that or they are just going to make up the rules as they go along, with their definition of “fully independent”.
      If they’re offering odds, then you can be sure that the definition will be fixed when money’s placed.

    33. ianbrotherhood says:

      Why doesn’t WoS stick a few grand on right now? Then we won’t need another fundraising drive in 2015. (I’m assuming that WoS won’t disappear post-Yes?!)
      I’m borderline innumerate, but say, for argument’s sake, you’ve got £5k to punt – how best to spread that across the available bets at current odds, and what would be the yield? All this talk of 4/1 and 5/6 (for 35%+) etc? Seems a no-brainer not-to, and it would be a big statement. (Plus we’d get to find out first-hand how a real bookmaker actually does react to someone going into a shop and asking to place that sort of dosh on ‘Yes’)
      Just a thought…

    34. Quincel says:

      The longer odds on full independence is easily explained, and doesn’t rely on an attempted block by Westminster. It is entirely possible that Scotland could vote to become independent, but the process of doing so take many years. Thus even if the vote is YES independence may not have fully occurred within 5 or so years, hence the longer odds.

    35. Atypical_Scot says:

      Re negative recollection article t’other day, here’s Alan Cochrane trying to evade his own observations of the cloud hanging over BT.

    36. annie says:

      How about a fund raiser to put a lump sum on yes – say £1000 

    37. Braco says:

      Independence by 2020 definition from William Hill is a vote passed in Holyrood declaring an Independent Scotland. Not Westminster. Something that needs the current Holyrood Indy majority, so if it is to happen it would probably need to happen pre 2016 Scots Elections. 2015?

    38. ianbrotherhood says:

      From the linked Cockring piece:
      ‘Tomorrow also sees Adam Ingram, the former Labour defence minister, joining forces with a panel of experts to explain how silly is the SNP defence policy.’
      Oh, ya beauty!
      Whoever’s idea it was to resurrect this bell-end should be minted a special medal by the Yes campaign. 

    39. Dave McEwan Hill says:

       I though Adam Ingram would have been tied up organising Orange Lodge members from NI for the No campaign

    40. Atypical_Scot says:

      Go to google, put in Adam Ingram and look at his profile (picture) on the left. ROFL.

    41. Bill C says:

      I smell fear from “Project Fear”!

    42. Atypical_Scot says:

      Just in case it changes pronto.

    43. ianbrotherhood says:

      Tried to post it, but couldn’t minimise the image.
      But it’s a total belter – everyone should check it before it goes.
      Ingram is guaranteed to make an arse of himself and BT tomorrow, whenever/wherever the event is.
      If anyone manages to turn up and call him a ‘ratbag’? so much the better. (Other pejoratives are available…)

    44. alexicon says:

      @Bill C says:
      30 June, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      I smell fear from “Project Fear”!
      Saw this on the TAMB threads. Thought you might like it.

    45. Bill C says:

      @alexicon says:     

      @Bill C says:
      I smell fear from “Project Fear”!
      Saw this on the TAMB threads. Thought you might like it.
      That’s me!

    46. alexicon says:

      Nope, didn’t work.

    47. ianbrotherhood says:

      re ‘Ingram’ –
      I posted this on BellaC on Jan 19th:
      If it isn’t ‘off-topic’ to highlight an example of what our Allies have been up to, please watch the following, but beware – it is one of those stories you wish you’d never heard. Seriously. I read it, watched the accompanying video maybe four/five months ago and haven’t been able to shift it out my heid.

      And isn’t that the nub of the problem here?

      No ordinary human wants to countenance the fact that others are capable of such vile behaviour. But then, few of us are subjected to the ‘training’ experienced by those recruited in the shopping-malls of areas where a steady supply of bored, susceptible teenagers is guaranteed.

      What happened to John Needham is unusual only insofar as his tragedy is well documented – that doesn’t mean it is well-known. (Salon-com, for example, published a version of his tragedy which bears little resemblance to the account detailed below.)

      In this country, Gordon Gentle is one of the very few names recognised by ordinary folk as a casualty of the Iraq ‘war’, and that’s due solely to the efforts of his Mum.

      When Rose Gentle stood as a candidate in East Kilbride against Adam Ingram (GE 2005) he turned up for the announcement, surrounded by his minders and buddies – when he saw Rose he shouted ‘Oh look, there’s Saddam’s little helper!’

      That’s the type of ‘human being’ we’re dealing with here – a man capable of traducing a bereaved mother in public.

      Pure class, eh?


    48. Atypical_Scot says:

      Ingram’s acknowledgement as a BT campaigner alone sends shivers. Warning all yes voters – do not get too good a tan!

      (not to say you’d necessarily need one to vote yes)

      (stop before hole gets deeper)

    49. alexicon says:

      @Bill C.
      You’ll need to please explain how to reproduce that elsewhere?
      I seem to be following you on the torygraph also.

    50. john king says:

      John Macintyre O.B.E.
      commenting on the Herald asks why Alex Salmond would need additional protection from no campaigners when he is their best asset, “the goose that lays golden eggs for the no campaign on a daily basis”
      on responding I asked him to explain the relative approval ratings of the current line up of failures who populate Westminster all of whom are in deeply negative ratings then explain why Alex Salmond alone has a personal popularity rating in the + zone,
      but the Herald being the Herald pre moderate my posts in spite of me never having made ad hominem attacks on other posters or made what you would call trolling comments on their site.

    51. Captain Caveman says:

      Even I’m stunned to learn that the odds being offered for a Yes vote are 4/1…? Incredible.

    52. alexicon says:

      @John King.
      Don’t feel aggrieved John, I’ve had several dozen comments blocked in the last few days, the vast majority of them normal and truthful.
      What gets me is that if you stray slightly away from the topic i.e. put a bad Labour slant, which is not really straying I think, the mods cut it very swiftly, but on the other hand if any of the usual suspects, obe, mm, Moseley, Kelly attack the personality of AS going off topic, it is very much allowed, in fact I would say it is welcomed by the mods at the Herald.
      Just for the record, Peter Moseley is from Lytham St. Anne in Lancashire, he dropped the Lytham bit in his title a while back, so don’t be fooled.
      The Herald will never change its spots and time will tell on its loyalties. Gardham is by far the worst.

    53. Seasick Dave says:

      A worrying thought came to me today and its not one that’s been brought up so far.
      Will we still be able to have a full English breakfast after Independence?

      Is it possible that we may be restricted to just a sausage?

    54. Desimond says:

      Crass Comment of the Year?
      Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said: “This shows where the First Minister’s priorities lie. We have cuts to support staff, which means police officers are behind desks instead of out on the beat, but he’s more concerned about his own safety rather than that of communities across Scotland.”

    55. Tom Hogg says:

      I’m going to Wm Hill at lunchtime to wager £100 on a YES vote.  Will report back.

    56. Shinty says:

      Tom Hogg,
      Wish I’d done it a year ago when the odds were better.

    57. Stuart Black says:

      Only a little off topic – you did mention Susan Calman – but this morning I received a BBC reply to my first ever complaint, and if they are going to take this long to respond it may be my last. Answer in full from Alistair O’Donnell:
      Thank you for your e-mail. Your comments were passed to the Editor of Newsnight Scotland, who has asked that I forward his response as follows:
      “Thank you for being in touch about the programme on 30th April. I am sorry it has taken this length of time to reply.
      The way we report news is governed by factors such as news values, the ranking in importance of stories compared with others being covered on any one day, the appropriateness of the story to the medium in which it is being reported, to name but three. Calman’s non-existent death threats appropriate and newsworthy, Smart’s Paki tweets not appropriate and not newsworthy.
      We do not publish stories just because other media outlets decide to; just as they will not necessarily feel obliged to carry stories that we carry. Yes, that is very plain.
      To suggest that the reporting of one particular story is dependent on another story is, with respect, fundamentally to misunderstand the nature and the dynamics of journalism. With respect I made no such suggestion, and if you had the slightest understanding of the nature and dynamics of journalism, with all due respect, you and your “journalists” would have started, with respect, started, by establishing if there was any truth in the death threats and vile abuse that you reported with such a high profile, devoting over half of a Newsnight to the discussion of said vileness but, and with all the respect I can muster, still managing to avoid showing any of the non-existent abuse and threats. No wonder Newsnight is so broken if this is an example of the Editor’s integrity and standards. Journalism? My left bollock…
      We use tried and trusted news values which have served us well over many years – which is why so many licence fee payers turn to the BBC for their information about news stories and current affairs issues. Yes, they certainly have served you well over many years. I might dispute how well you are serving the people who fund your activities, however.
      It simply is not true that we “focus on the independence side, to the absolute exclusion of the No campaign”. Here again weasel journalese from the Editor of Newnicht. The above sentence must be taken in the context that the “focus” is referring to the reporting of online abuse, though the entire reply manages to completely ignore the subject of the complaint. If this is “simply not true”, and Mr Ed can point me towards the Newsnight specials I have missed that are balanced on this topic – I look for no more than impartiality, alas in vain – I will apologise unreservedly and,  of course, with respect.
      Thank you again for taking the trouble to be in touch.”
      You’re welcome.
      Thanks again for contacting the BBC.
      You’re welcome.

    58. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Can anybody provide a link to the marvelous speech of Craig Murray on Newsnet. Every person in Scotland should hear it.

    59. Holebender says:

      I have discovered this afternoon that both Ladbrokes and Wm. Hill are offering 4/1 odds on YES winning the referendum, but both restrict the amount which can be wagered in a single bet. I think I’m going to have to make regular visits to Ladbrokes to bet on YES getting 37% of the vote (as they restrict the amount you can bet on that too)!

    60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “but both restrict the amount which can be wagered in a single bet.”

      Any more details than that?

    61. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Thanks, Stuart Black

    62. Holebender says:

      Rev, I was only allowed to bet £120 on the 37% vote share on Ladbrokes(5/6 odds), £50 on YES to win @ Ladbrokes (4/1). William Hill generously allowed me to bet £300 on YES winning, but no more, at 4/1 odds.

    63. Ken Johnston says:

      I was only allowed £50 at Ladbrokes 8 weeks ago on a Yes win.

    64. Ruby says:


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