Bookies slash odds of a Yes vote in ‘unprecedented’ referendum


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Bookmakers have slashed the odds on a Yes vote in the independence referendum after recording an ‘unprecedented’ surge of bets.

Before the second televised debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, all bookmakers had the Better Together campaign as overwhelming favourites to be victorious on September 18. But four of the largest bookmakers in the country contacted by STV have all slashed their odds on a Yes vote as polls have tightened. However, despite the change in odds and support by punters for Yes reported at bookies’ shops, all four of the main bookmakers still predict a No victory.

Odds for YES vote 24/08/14 Odds for YES vote 4/9/2014 Odds for NO vote 24/8/2014 Odds for No vote 04/09/2014
Ladbrokes 5/1 5/2 1/8 2/7
Coral 4/1 5/2 1/7 2/7
William Hill 9/2 11/4 1/8 1/4
Paddy Power 9/2 5/2 1/7 2/7

Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue said: “The main story this week is that the money for Yes is surging at an unprecedented rate of over £10,000 a day made up of smaller stakes. This is an all time high and represents the momentum for Yes perfectly. “It’s unprecedented for political betting overall. This is now the biggest political betting event of all time and for there to be such a groundswell of betting support for one particular party or movement like this is unheralded.”

William Hill said the £2m volume of bets it had recorded was a record for a political campaign with the placing of a £100 bet for a Yes vote in a Fife bookies. The bookmaker now expects the betting turnover to exceed that of both the 2010 UK general election and the 2012 US presidential election combined. Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: “The volume of betting has taken us completely by surprise and a turnover in excess of £2m was not anticipated when we began betting on the outcome. “The closer we move to polling day the greater the betting interest seems to be. “At the moment we are seeing over 80% of the bets we are taking being placed on a Yes vote. “On Wednesday alone we have taken bets of £8000, £2000, £1200 and £1000 for a Yes vote.”

The difference in betting trends across the UK with Coral are evident, with 90% of bets in Scotland backing a Yes vote whilst 70% of punters across England and Wales have placed money on a No vote. Coral spokesman David Stevens said: “The odds still have a No vote as the most likely outcome on September 18th, but as far as our Scottish customers are concerned it’s a different story, with the overwhelming majority of bets struck backing independence, although perhaps unsurprisingly it’s a different story elsewhere in the UK” It hasn’t all been strictly Yes and No markets available for anyone who wants a flutter, there are some other fun markets which punters may be interested in.

A Paddy Power spokesman said: “Punters have been piling on since betting began a couple of years ago and, with now just two weeks to go, it’s really hotting up. “After everyone thinking the No camp would walk it, we’re now on for a real nail-biter as we’ve seen a steady shortening of the odds for a Yes vote to be returned over the last week or so. “Despite a No vote still being favourite, we’ve already got some interest in odds on what would happen if Scotland were to vote Yes, including whether Alex Salmond would celebrate in true Scottish style – by shaking up a bottle of Irn Bru instead of champagne.”

Scottish independence: Tesco plays down ‘Yes’ cost increase claim by #BT


Tesco supermarket said the referendum vote was a matter for the Scottish people

Tesco supermarket said the referendum vote was a matter for the Scottish people

Supermarket giant Tesco has played down claims its prices would rise in an independent Scotland. It described the suggestion in a pro-Union Better Together campaign leaflet as “entirely speculative”. A spokesman for Tesco said the company was “neutral on the referendum” which was “a matter for the Scottish people.” But Labour’s Jackie Ballie, speaking on behalf of Better Together, said a “Yes” vote would “cost families in Scotland dear”. The statement from the UK supermarket was made after pro-Union literature used Tesco prices in Ireland to suggest that shopping in Scotland could cost 16% more after a “Yes” vote.

In a letter to a customer who had inquired about the claim in the leaflet, Tesco said “I can confirm that this is not true”, adding that it had “a great business in Scotland” and would “continue to offer the best prices whatever the outcome of the referendum”. Tesco said that higher labour and energy costs, along with government levies on certain products such as wine, pushed up some prices in Irish supermarkets. But the company insisted that “some items of fresh produce, meats and other household items” were actually cheaper in Tesco’s stores in Ireland than in its stores in the UK.

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The people of Scotland go to the polls on Thursday, 18 September, when they will be asked the “Yes/No” question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Ms Baillie said experts had made it clear that leaving the UK would increase prices in Scotland. She pointed to the work of Alan McKinnon, who is professor of Logistics at the Kuehne Logistics University in Hamburg. He is reported to have said that if Scotland left the UK, the “the distribution of supplies from warehouses in England to shops and businesses in Scotland, many of which are currently internal inventory transfers, would become international trade”. The academic went on to say that would “be a very costly option and result in higher prices in the shops”.

‘Clarification welcome’

Ms Baillie said: “Times are tough enough already for families here without putting more pressures on the household budget. We know from the supermarket bosses and the experts that the cost of doing business in Scotland is more expensive than elsewhere in the UK. “Being part of the UK means we can spread this extra cost amongst customers across the whole of the UK, rather than the burden falling on Scottish families alone.” However, the Yes Scotland campaign said that the intervention of Tesco to clarify its position had left the Better together campaign embarrassed. The SNP’s Derek Mackay said: “Tesco’s clarification is welcome – the No campaign must withdraw their misleading leaflet as a matter of urgency. “People across Scotland have already started casting their votes in the referendum – for them to be able to make the right choice they must be given the facts. “That the decision was taken to include these ridiculous claims in their official referendum communication says it all – their complete lack of vision for Scotland means all they can do is scaremonger in a desperate attempt to convince people to vote No.”

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