A man gambled 400,000 pounds ($671,000) on Scots voting to stay in the U.K. in a referendum later this year. Bookmaker William Hill Plc said the stake, placed in London today, was the largest ever political bet.
The customer, "who does not have a Scottish accent," got odds on a No vote on Sept. 18 of 1-4, meaning he stands to make 100,000 pounds if the bet is successful. As a result, William Hill shortened the odds to 1-5, while lengthening those on a Yes vote to 10-3 from 11-4, the company said in an emailed statement today.
The wager is twice the previous record bet of 200,000 pounds, also on Scots rejecting independence and opting to remain in the 307-year-old union, William Hill said.
Opinion polls in recent months showed people warming to independence though they are still outnumbered by those preferring the status quo. All three main U.K. political parties have declared their intention to give Scotland more financial power should they vote against full autonomy as they try to arrest the progress of the nationalist campaign.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a Scot, said yesterday that home rule for Scotland within the U.K. will be a minimum as the country moves away from a unitary state.
Ladbrokes Plc, the other of the two largest U.K. bookmakers, offers odds of 1-4 for a No vote and 3-1 for Scotland deciding to go it alone, the company's website shows.