General Election 2019: A guide to the key betting markets on Betfair

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There are plenty of betting markets to get stuck into for this General Election
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There's far more to trying to predict which party will win - although that's pretty interesting - general election 2019, so here's our guide to which markets to concentrate on.

"The Overall Majority market is the big one at this election and punters, political commentators and party strategists will likely to be monitoring it in the run up to polling day. It's where you bet on whether or not one of the parties will win a majority or whether all will fall short and we'll be left with another hung parliament."

Some recent history

There was a time when political betting markets were more reliable than the polls when it came to trying to predict election outcomes. In 2008, for example, when Barack Obama became president of the United States, the Betfair Exchange consistently showed the Democratic Party candidate ahead of his Republican rival John McCain.

Two years later, in the UK general election of 2010, the Conservatives were expected to win a majority but the markets showed bettors cooling on their chances and, eventually, it wasn't a huge surprise that the UK had its first hung parliament for 36 years.

Things changed at the next the general election, in 2015. This time, no over all majority was odds-on with bettors, but David Cameron's Conservatives upset the odds by winning a majority. Two years later, Cameron's successor Theresa May did the opposite - failing to win a majority when she was expected to win one.

Don't rule out another upset

Corbyn left Johnson right 1280.jpg

We live in unpredictable times and no political event in the UK underlined this better than the events of 23 June 2016. At noon that fateful day, as Britons voted on the UK's membership of the European Union, Remain traded at [1.11] (a 90% chance) to win, while Leave hovered around [5.8] (a 17% chance).

In the past year alone, we've seen fluctuations in the Brexit betting on everything from the UK's leave date to the chances of a second referendum and even the date of the upcoming election (odds-on to be held in October, at one point). Perhaps the markets have it right this time and the Conservatives are going to win a majority. But if you're having a bet, you should bear in mind the recent history of upsets and not rule out another on 12 December.

Key markets - overall majority and most seats

The Overall Majority market is the big one at this election and punters, political commentators and party strategists will likely to be monitoring it in the run up to polling day. It's where you bet on whether or not one of the parties will win a majority or whether all will fall short and we'll be left with another hung parliament.

The Most Seats market is more straightforward, as it narrows your options to the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Any Other Party. Unless the world has gone truly beserk this one's a straight fight between the Conservatives and Labour. At the time of writing, the Tories are an unbackable shoo-in and you're better off concentrating on the Overall Majority. But if the polls tighten in the upcoming weeks - as they did at the last general election - their price will drift and Labour's should narrow.

Total seats, vote percentage and turnout

It's also worth checking out each party's seats market where you can bet on how many seats the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and others will win. You can also bet on unders/overs - for example, will Labour win under or over 237.5 seats?

And then there's the vote percentage markets which, like the rest of the markets here, you should get involved in only after a close reading of the latest polls and the analysis on our politics pages.

Voter Turnout is a personal favourite. It's where you can bet on what percentage of the adult population will vote on 12 December. At the moment, 60-70% is the favourite and that would be consistent with the last general election where turnout was 68.8% - the largest for 20 years.

Exchange or Sportsbook?

So far, we've concentrated on Exchange betting. That's because the run up to a general election tends to be full of ups and downs for the parties, so it's fascinating to see bettors react to the latest news and the odds move in line with parties' perceived chances of victory. Of course, if you've backed an outcome and seen the odds on it shorten you can always lay it off at the lower price.

But the Sportsbook is also great for betting on the general election, with a huge range of markets. For example, the constituency betting markets which are broken down into nations - so if you want to bet on which party is going to win in, say, Brecon & Radnorshire, you'd click on Wales Constituencies and search them by alphabetical order.

The advantage with the Sportsbook here is that, on the Exchange, liquidity can be slow to enter some constituency markets. Here you can assess the odds and, if you like a price, place your bet without having to wait.

So there it is - a guide to betting on general election 2019. The next few weeks will be eventful and, when it's all over, you'll have the Brexit markets (trade deal betting anyone?) and probably at least one party leadership contest to concentrate on.

Max Liu,

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