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Brexit Sees Bookies Set New Non-Sporting Event Record

  • British bookmakers' share prices are hit hard following the Brexit referendum result.

Almost £120 million was wagered on the outcome of the "Brexit" referendum, breaking the record for non-sporting events, but the shocking result left bookmakers nursing heavy losses, although some showed a profit as punters backed "remain" heavily at short odds.

Betfair was one of the companies to show a profit thanks to the way they took commission from bets placed on the exchange rather than in a traditional bookmaking sense. Nearly £80 million was wagered through the exchange, with close to £40 million of bets taken by various bookmakers.

Both Ladbrokes and Betfred said they made a profit on the Brexit referendum thanks to customers heavily backing remain. Ladbrokes told the Financial Times that the average stake for remain was £400, whereas the average stake on "leave" was only £70, which moved the odds significantly in favor of the former.

Betfred revealed it took slightly more than £1 million worth of bets, and turned a small profit due to the big bets being placed on the side of remain.

William Hill was one of the betting firms that lost heavily. After taking £3 million in bets, William Hill was left nursing a £400,000 net loss on the Brexit result. The share price of the British gambling giant plummeted by almost 17 percent as the London Stock Exchange opened on Friday morning, before recovering slightly as trading went on through the day.

It then slumped again on Monday, and while it looks to be recovering slightly now, the share price is still 11.7 percent lower than it was before the Brexit referendum result, wiping off more than £300 million from William Hill's valuation.

There is a similar story for shareholders of Ladbrokes and Paddy Power Betfair, both of which are trading at 14.1 percent and 8.4 percent lower than close of trading on June 23.

The fluctuations in bookmakers' share prices will probably continue due to the uncertainty surrounding licensing with the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union. What lies in store is pure speculation at the moment, but those bookmakers listed on the London Stock Exchange should reveal the short-term and long-term damage in their next set of financial figures.

*Lead image courtesy of Matt Lennon/

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