Nearly half of all bets placed on Betfair’s market on whether Britain will leave the EU by March 26 2019 said the UK will still be a member even after the planned exit date.
The bookmakers said 45 percent of “more than 1,000” total bets on the market were placed on ‘no’, indicating a lack of support for Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit ministers – or a refusal among die-hard Remainers to accept the UK is really leaving the bloc.
But, like the Brexit referendum itself, a small majority of punters believe Britain will leave on deadline day, with a surge in positive bets following the successful transition period deal talks earlier this month.
Betfair spokeswoman Katie Baylis said there had been a definite “swing” towards those who believed Britain will leave the bloc and begin a transition period on March 29th next year following recent talks.
More than £10,000 had been placed on Britain meeting the EU exit deadline following the joint press-conference by David Davis and Michel Barnier this month.
But she said those who still believe it just won’t happen still numbered almost half of all punters – albeit just shy of the 48 percent of Remain voters during the 2016 referendum.
Ms Baylis said: “While tomorrow marks exactly one year until the official Brexit date – a day the Government has been working towards for a year – many punters believe we won’t make the deadline, with odds of 5/4 on Betfair Exchange that we won’t.
“Almost half of all the money staked on this market is that we won’t have left by the end of the day on the 29th of March 2019, while around 45 percent of bets are for that outcome, or lack of it.
“In saying that however, we have seen a swing in the last week or so following the announcement of the 21 month transition deal which will keep things pretty much as they are until the end of 2020.
“We saw almost £10k wagered on the UK to make the deadline following the announcement, with those odds now at 8/11. However with controversy rumbling over Vote Leave’s funding and plenty of vocal opposition to Brexit, it’s not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination in many people’s minds.”
Betting was a regular topic of discussion during the Brexit referendum with then-Ukip leader Nigel Farage personally staking £1,000 on a Leave victory.
He placed the bet at Ladbrokes in London on June 2 at odds of 5/2 – which means following the shock result later that month he netted a profit of £2,500.