Spread Betting on the UK General Election
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Political Spread Betting

Political Spread Betting

Where to Spread Bet on the UK General Election?

A number of firms offer spread betting on a range of political events such as the outcome of elections and referendums.

Politics Analysis & News

Date Trading Update
08-Jun-17 [12:30pm]

Election Day: Time to Pick the Best of a Bad Bunch

Just had a chat with the Financial Spreads dealing desk, they will be running their election markets until midday tomorrow.

They are also taking big bets with clients on for +£100/seat... that puts my £5/seat bet to shame.

Although, note that they are now only taking trades over the phone.

Exit Polls at 10pm Tonight

Ipsos MORI plans to publish its exit poll at 10pm, the poll covers 20,000 people in +100 constituencies.

It's certainly not 100% accurate but there could be a healthy move in the FTSE 100, EUR/GBP and GBP/USD (and election markets) as the poll is announced.

Election Markets Open Until Midday 9 June?

Apparently so.

Although, as the results become clearer, the market will settle down and the width of the spreads could easily cover the result... i.e. you'll lose whether you buy or sell

90 Seat Conservative Majority?

With 650 seats in parliament and the current market at 370 Conservative seats that suggests Mrs May will end up with a healthy 90 seat majority.

Seems toppy.

If 90 seats is indeed realistic, just imagine what her majority would have been with a well run campaign...

Prices as of 12.30pm, 8 June 2017:

UK Spread Betting Market Price Update: 8 June 2017

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
07-Jun-17 [5:30pm]

Conservatives Up 10 Seats Since Yesterday

The seats markets for the Conservative party and Labour party remain fluid.

The Tories are up 10 seats on yesterday's quote, i.e. they've climbed to 371 - 375 from 361 - 365.

Labour have dropped to 195.5 -199.5 from 202 - 206

The SNP seats quote has barely moved for the last month.

There's little love for the Lib Dems although I've just had a small buy of their seats @ 12.

They currently have 9 MPs and so I think the downside is limited... although judging by Tim Farron's election campaign... the upside is looking pretty limited too. I could well lose on the width of the spread.

Financial Spreads as of 5.30pm, 7 June 2017:

UK Spread Betting Market Price Update: 7 June 2017

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
06-Jun-17 [6:18pm]

Spread Betting Arbitrage Opportunity

These are rare and looks like the firms are evening up their books.

As of 6.10pm:

Arbitrage 1) Labour Seats Arb

Buy Labour seats @ 203.5 with Financial Spreads
Sell Labour seats @ 208 with IG

= 4.5pt Arb

Arbitrage 2) Conservative Seats Arb

Buy Conservative seats @ 361 with IG
Sell Conservative seats @ 365 with Financial Spreads

= 4pt Arb

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
06-Jun-17 [1:30pm]

The Highest Seats Quote Yet for Labour

Labour Seats are currently trading at 202 to 206, a little off their earlier highs of 205 to 209.

There's still no respite for the Tories or Lib Dems. Neither party seems to be getting much love (see prices below).

More Activity in the Political Spread Betting Markets

A few weeks ago, the prices might only change about once a day... if you look at the hourly charts now, you'll see more frequent price moves.

That would suggest that these markets are seeing more trades (and they're no longer just a PR market for the spread betting companies).

General Election Price Update

Financial Spreads: 1.30pm, 6 June 2017:

UK Spread Betting Market Price Update: 6 June 2017

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
05-Jun-17 [12:18pm]

Election Market Update

Firstly, and putting all the nonsense of punting on election markets to once side, after another shocking attack in London on Saturday, our sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, been hurt other or are otherwise suffering.

Conservatives Improve

It's sombre morning here in the office but here's a quick price update from Financial Spreads, Sporting Index and Spreadex - see screenshots below from 11.30am, 5 Jun.

The Conservative party, who are normally the 'law and order party', have gone up 7 seats from Friday's quote of 363 - 367 seats to 370 - 364.

In the seesaw between the two main parties, Labour has lost most of those seats dropping 199 - 203 to 194.5 - 198.5.

Caution: Wide Spreads

As usual with election betting, watch out for the wide spreads - Sporting Index and Spreadex are still offering markets with a 6 point spread on the main parties.

Financial Spreads are more reasonable with a 4 point spread but that's still not that tight.

Spreadex Election Market Price Update: 5 Jun 2017

Financial Spreads Election Market Price Update: 5 Jun 2017

Sporting Index Election Market Price Update: 5 Jun 2017

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
01-Jun-17 [2:22pm]

Election Classic

Jeremy Corbyn is doing an election classic. He's promising the earth and the younger members of the electorate are lapping it up.

E.g. a simple Labour manifesto pledge

"We will start by bringing our railways back into public ownership

Labour will invest in a modern, integrated, accessible and sustainable transport system that is reliable and affordable.

That's all well and good but he seems to be forgetting that the trains were poor when they were run by the Government in the past... and the tax payer picked some very large bills in order to subsidise that poor service.

That's a problem for another day though… and at the moment the Labour party seems to have a new energy.

Impressive Labour Rebound

The Labour seats market has moved up by an impressive 50 seats.

I.e. from a low around 150 – 154 seats to the current spread of 199 - 203 seats.

Spread Betting General Election Price Update

Financial Spreads: 1.45m, 1 June 2017:

UK Spread Betting Market Price Update: 1 June 2017

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
01-Jun-17 [4:22am]

Big Bets Against Labour Party Seats

FinancialSpreads.com have said they've got some big trades against Labour including one client who's shorted Labour seats at 175 for a cheeky £500/seat.

I.e. their client will lose £500 for every seat that Labour gets above 175 and vice versa… they'll win £500 for every seat under 175.

E.g. if Labour get today's estimate of 201 seats, the person will lose = (201 - 175) x £500 = 26 seats x £500/seat = £13,000 loss.

E.g. if Labour get the 5 May estimate of 154, the person be down the pub after winning = (175 - 154) x £500 = 21 seats x £500/seat = £10,500 profit.

That's a pretty big bet.

The firm's max political bet size is actually £500/seat … but you can also bet a more reasonable £1/seat. (You'll also get £1/seat with the other firms offering this market).

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
19-May-17 [4:24pm]

Lib Dem Spread Betting Market Just Collapses

As the chart below testifies, the Lib Dem market is in freefall.

On 25 April they were forecast to get 29 - 31 seats, up from the 9 seats they currently have.

Prior to yesterday's TV debate, the spread had already crashed to 15 - 17 seats.

And now they've lost another 2 seats. That's careless.

Lib Dem Spread Betting Market Just Collapses

UKIP Steady at Zero Seats

The market for UKIP seats market is holding steady around the 0.01 - 0.3 level.

I.e. the price suggests that Paul Nuttall's motley crew won't be getting any seats in the House of Commons this time around.

Who say's the electorate is stupid?

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
19-May-17 [3:21pm]

Small Bounce Back for Jezza

Jeremy Corbyn's party is reaping the rewards of the Lib Dem collapse (or helping to cause it).

On 11 May Labour were trading at 150 – 154 (see story below).

It looks like his retro-manifesto has gone down well with the party faithful and many of the younger potential voters (who weren't alive in the '70s and don't realise top rate income tax hit a lose-lose 83%).

The Labour party seats market has now moved 20 seats higher to 170 - 174.

Their manifesto has some well intentioned ideas but it proves again that Jeremy Corbyn is as ill-suited to office as Donald Trump. Luckily, Corbyn's also as unelectable as Kinnock.

It's a shame the Labour party don't have a more Blairite candidate who can keep the Tory party in check.

UK Spread Betting Market Price Update

Financial Spreads: 3pm, 19 May 2017:

UK Spread Betting Market Price Update: 19 May 2017

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
12-May-17 [10:34am]

UK Election 2017 Price Update:

Below prices from Financial Spreads and IG.

There's been no discernable change in the prices despite the Labour Party draft manifesto leak.

Perhaps that says a lot about the current perception of the Labour party.

Financial Spreads: 9.30, 12 May 2017:

UK Election 2017 Price Update

IG Prices: 9.30, 12 May 2017:

UK Election 2017 Price Update

Also see, how to spread bet on the UK election.

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
12-May-17 [10:33am] Important Note re: IG's Conservative Majority Market

IG's current price of 91 - 97 looks too good to be true.

For me, it's an easy buy @ 97...

But... on closer inspection, i.e. reading the market information, you will see the IG Conservative Majority market is not a "seats" market.

It's basically a binary market. It will be either close at 0 if the Conservative's don't get a majority or 100 if they do get a majority.

As always, if something looks too good to be true with a market, re-check what you think you are trading.

Still Tempted?

If you buy at 97 the maximum you can win is 3x your stake (100-97=3).

That might still be tempting but note that you would lose 97 x your stake if the Tories don't get a majority.

That's a very nasty downside.

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
11-May-17 [4:21pm]

2017 vs 2015 Election Market Nightmare for Labour

Jeremy Corbyn may have said "I think we can spend too much time worrying about polls" but he's got to be a little concerned.

If he doesn't want to look at the polls then he certainly won't want to look at the spread betting markets.

It's interesting to look back at the 2015 'seats' markets when "Red Ed" was considered "unelectable" but you also had UKIP eating into much of the Conservative heartland.

A typical pre-election Conservative seats quote floated around the 280 - 286 level and a Labour party seats market would hover around 275 - 281.

The two main parties were pretty much even in the spread betting markets.

Labour is now about 250 seats behind:

General Election Seats 2015 Election
(Typical Spread)
2017 Election
(Typical Spread)
Conservative Seats 280 - 286 398-402
Labour Seats 275 - 281 150-154

Jezza might want to keep his head in the sand for a little longer.

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
10-May-17 [3:21pm]

Good Political Betting Blogs

There are two different blogs that are worth looking at:

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
18-Mar-15 [3:17pm]

Osborne's Pre-Election Budget 2015: A Strictly Political Affair

This was a heavily politicised Budget, as expected, that on the surface turned out fairly well for the Conservatives.

Many claim that the actual content of a pre-election Budget doesn't matter, but merely the impression it gives off.

Osborne seemed to do a good job of treading the line between highlighting the UK's strong recovery yet emphasising that the recovery isn't over, whilst including some tantalising changes to the tax free allowance, ISAs and pensions.

The usual Tory lines over the 'chaos of the past' were present, with Osborne calling Britain the 'comeback country'.

Oil Price Falls Makes it Harder for Labour to Score Points

Yet Labour did make some strong points in their response, especially the issues over the glaringly absent NHS, the dubious nature of the Tory's higher living standards claim, and the fact that the jobs situation isn't quite as rosy as the Tories keep stating.

Frustratingly for Labour, however, this election has coincided with a downturn in global inflation due to the oil price crash, and on home soil the supermarket price war, a big boost to the coalition's current economic figures.

As Andrew Tyrie, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee said as the MPs were leaving the chamber, it's very hard for an opposition leader to respond to the unseen Budget when the economy is bad, let alone when the economy is strong.

And Labour will likely suffer due to the nature of the Budget coverage; it's Osborne's moment to shine and the focus will largely be on what he said rather than what Labour accuses him of leaving out.

What could harm the Tory's, however, is there insistence that living standards are rising; if this doesn't ring true with the electorate, then Labour's claim that the Conservatives are far removed from the public will only gain in legitimacy.

Post-Budget Election Expectations Little Changed

In the post-Budget landscape the outcome of the election remains unclear.

In the important General Seats spread, the Conservative have slipped slightly to 280-286 from 281-287, with a big sell off last week being followed by an unsurprisingly flurry of buys ahead of Osborne's announcement.

Labour have also slipped, to 271-277 from 273-279, with the continued glacial pace of either party's gains hurting Miliband more than the incumbent Tories.

The biggest movement was found in the Most Seats spreads: the Conservatives have now grown to 63.6-71.5, whilst Labour has fallen to 28.5-34.8, with Ed Miliband's insistence that Labour won't utilise a SNP/Labour coalition hurting the party's odds.

Update by Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst, Spreadex
16-Mar-15 [12:17pm] The latest update on our blog takes a look at what the upcoming UK budget might look like and the potential impact on sterling.

How Will the Budget Impact Sterling and the UK Economy?

Update by Jenna Cutly, Editor, CleanFinancial
13-Mar-15 [2:48pm]

UK General Election Spread Betting Markets

As we head towards the last UK budget before the general election, Alastair McCaig from IG discusses the trading options available for those looking to take a position.

One new binary market asks whether Alex Salmond will be part of the next cabinet, whilst another considers whether there will be a second general election in 2015.

Update by Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst, IG Index
13-Mar-15 [10:11am] Will Alex Salmond Make His Way into the Cabinet?

Next week's UK budget should see the City's attention finally switch away from Europe and onto the looming May election.

The IG election trades suggest a hung parliament leading to a David Cameron-led coalition government, along with the SNP picking up 42 of the 59 Scottish seats on offer.

The 16.5% chance that Alex Salmond could then find a seat in the cabinet does not seem that outrageous.

Update by Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst, IG Index
10-Mar-15 [12:42pm]

How to Trade on FX Ahead of the UK General Election

In the run up to the election, IG asks Stephen Gallo, from BMO Capital Markets, about what elements to consider when attempting to capitalise on the political uncertainty inspired volatility in the foreign exchange markets.

Despite the ECB also producing its own QE programme, Mr Gallo believes that EUR/GBP will be supported by the ?0.65 level.

Update by IG Index
05-Mar-15 [10:33am] SNP Leads in Scotland

The latest Ashcroft poll puts the SNP well ahead of Labour in Scotland, and this could prove to be crucial for the Scottish nationalists come May as a hung parliament is looking likely.

IG is offering a number of binary bets on the UK general election and they suggest that the Conservatives and Labour will take 288 and 272 seats respectively.

It also indicates the SNP will take 41 seats, which is a 10% increase on the day following the survey conducted by Lord Ashcroft.

Update by David Madden, Market Analyst, IG Index
25-Feb-15 [2:27pm] Is UKIP Starting to Lose Out as We Count Down to the Election?

Whilst the two major parties battle over the latest scandal, this time the 'cash for access' issue and whether MPs should have 2 jobs, neither comes out un-muddied.

Yet what has been interesting about the fallout of these high-profile embarrassments has been the lack of gains made by the smaller parties.

Even just 6 months ago, UKIP would have been able to easily capitalise on this opportunity as the public perception of the dishonesty of the major parties grows.

Yet, they haven't.

Polls Point to Lost Support After Controversial Channel 4 Programme

Lord Ashcroft claims UKIP fell by 5 points to 11% following the Channel 4 mock-doc-drama hybrid programme about the first 100 days of a UKIP government.

A Comres poll for the Daily Mail suggested a similar decline, by 4 points to 13%.

Slightly more recent polls on Tuesday saw slightly different figures, with a YouGov/The Sun poll having UKIP at 14%, whilst a Daily Mirror survey puts them at 19%.

Nevertheless, UKIP are not making their voices heard as much as they were.

The gurning face of Nigel Farage hasn't made the same amount of appearances as before the election campaigns began in earnest, and in the discussions of actual policy the party have remained decidedly quiet.

Farage is Struggling Without a Mainstream Media Backer

However there is a potential alternative reason for this.

UKIP doesn't have any real backing in the mainstream media, at least not in the way the Tories or Labour do, or the Lib Dems did in 2010.

And with the election news being dominated first by the HSBC scandal and now by 'cash for access', UKIP don't have the clout or the history to make their views on these issues sought-after.

For all the talk of this election being a fragmented race between multiple parties, the main battles so far have returned to the usual pairing of Labour and Conservatives.

Spread Bettors Sell UKIP Seats

This has been reflected by UKIP's presence in the spread betting world.

Here at Spreadex, UKIP are the only party to consistently see their odds shrink, now at a General Election Seats spread of 4.5-6.5 from 6.5-8.5 at the start of February.

Their favour with clients has also slowed down; after a flurry of bets on the far-right party when our odds were first announced, there has been very little movement surrounding their hopes in the past fortnight.

In contrast there has been little change at the top, with the Tories at a spread of 280-286, and Labour at 275-281, as the polls remain split on which party will win.

Update by Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst, Spreadex
23-Feb-15 [4:22pm] No Majority Expected for Conservatives or Labour

IG is offering a binary bet on the outcome of the UK general election, and it is indicating that there will be no overall majority and that the Conservatives will take 290 seats.

It also suggests there is a 79% chance of a hung parliament and an 18% chance of a Conservative majority.

Update by David Madden, Market Analyst, IG Index
19-Feb-15 [9:15am]

UK Election Betting Update

Below, a quick look at how Spreadex is pricing up the market.

Note, if you are logging into your Spreadex account, you need to log into 'Sports' rather than 'Financials' to access these prices.

Interesting to see that UKIP are more likely to get an overall majority (100/1) than Nick Clegg's lot (500/1). Having said that, when fixed odds prices get to 100/1 they are pretty spurious to me.

It wouldn't be difficult to find a bookie offering odds of 100/1 or 500/1 for Elvis being found alive.

Realistic Overall Majority?

In a bar the other night I heard some of those clever lads at Goldman Sachs saying support for Labour and UKIP will drop significantly and the Conservatives would get an overall majority.

The market isn't forecasting that though.

For all the negative commentary around Red Ed, the spread on Conservative seats is 280 - 286, only a dash ahead of Labour's 275 - 281 seats.

That's way off the 326 seats needed for a majority.

The fixed odds 'No Overall Majority' is also priced at 1/5, so the current market suggests that we're in for another coalition.

Spread Betting Prices

General Election Seats Spread
Conservative Seats 280 - 286
Labour Seats 275 - 281
SNP Seats 36 - 39
Liberal Democrats Seats 25 - 28
UKIP Seats 5.5 - 7.5

Note: 650 seats available, the Speakers seat and seats in Northern Ireland do not count towards this market.

Binary Election Prices

Most Seats Binary Spread
Conservatives 55.5 - 62
Labour 38.4 - 44.5
UKIP 0 - 1
Liberal Democrats 0 - 0.2

Note: These binary trades make up (close) at 100 if the party is named as having the most seats, otherwise they make up at 0.

Fixed Odds Election Prices

Most Seats Fixed Odds
No Overall Majority 1/5
Labour Majority 14/1
Conservative Majority 9/2
UKIP Majority 100/1
Liberal Democrat Majority 500/1

Overall Majority Fixed Odds
Conservatives 8/13
Labour 5/4
UKIP 100/1
Liberal Democrats 500/1

Update by Jacob Wood, Editor, CleanFinancial
18-Feb-15 [3:13pm] Labour PR Problems Outshine Pledges

The perception surrounding the Two Eds as a pair of bumbling business-illiterates has not been helped this week.

Ed Balls and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna got embroiled in a discussion over whether you should keep a receipt for every single cash-in-hand transaction regardless of size.

This obscured actual Labour policies like its pledge to create 80,000 high quality internships in industry per year, in the latest move by the party to appeal to a business industry that is incredibly wary of 'Red Ed'.

Labour's Switch to an Economic Focus May be Too Late

However Labour's renewed focus on jobs and the economy, after a misjudged attempt to create an NHS-focused election campaign failed, may be too late.

Today's jobs data saw unemployment fall to a 6 year low, not far above pre-crisis levels.

Importantly, three quarters of the new jobs created were full-time positions.

At the same time, the incumbent Tories are benefiting from falling food and crude oil prices, neither of which is in their jurisdiction.

This has helped them overcome the issue of real wage growth just in time for the election, allowing them to point at falling inflation and say 'look at all this money we are putting in your pocket'.

Sadly for Balls, the electorate don't seem to be paying attention to his warning that the current situation is untenable.

Spread Bettors Keep Buying Conservative Seats

This news has seen the continued, if slowing, trend of buying Tory seats and the selling of Labour in the Spreadex election markets.

This has come despite the fact that the Conservative market has slipped on General Election seats to 280-286 from 281-287, whilst the market for Labour grew to 275-281 from 273-279.

Given the opportunities presented to them, this gap should have been made even narrower by Labour, yet the fact that the Tories only slipped a point says it all.

There was little movement from the smaller parties, as money on UKIP's General Election Seats market began to dry up in the face of actual policy-creation.

Update by Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst, Spreadex

Readers please note:

UK General Election Spread Betting Example

In the run up to the UK's General Election on Thursday 8 June 2017 investors can speculate on the number of seats that each of the major parties... and UKIP... will win.

They can also speculate on voter turnout, the estimated turnout looks pretty miserable at around 62%.

Looking at FinancialSpreads.com you can spread bet on the number of seats that the Conservatives will win.

In this case, they have priced their Conservative Seats market at 397 - 401, i.e. suggesting that the Conservatives will win 397 - 401 seats.

Therefore, you could spread bet on the Conservatives winning:

  Conservative Seats Trading Example More than 401 seats, or
  Conservative Seats Spread Betting Example Less than 397 seats

When spread betting on a "Seats" market you are simply betting in £x per seat.

If you risked £5 per seat and the Conservative Seats market moved by 21 seats then that would alter your P&L by £105. £5 per seat x 21 seats = £105.

UK Election - Conservative Seats Example

Now, if you take the above spread of 397 - 401 and assume:
  • You've reviewed the polls, the news etc. and
  • You think that the Conservatives will get more than 401 seats at the election
Then you may decide to "buy" the market at 401 and bet, let's say, £4 per seat.

If you "buy" the market you will make a profit of £4 for every seat more than 401 that the Conservatives win.

Of course, such a bet also means that you will lose £4 for every seat that the Conservatives get less than 401.

Put another way, should you buy a spread bet then your profits (or losses) are calculated by taking the difference between the final price of the market and the price you bought the spread at. You then multiply that price difference by the stake.

If the Tories exceed expectations with a Tony Blair-like landslide and won 441 seats, you'd make a profit:

Profit = (Closing Price - Opening Price) x stake
Profit = (441 - 401) x £4 per seat stake
Profit = 40 x £4 per seat stake
Profit = £160 profit

Trading on financial markets, or political markets, is rarely straightforward.

In this example, you had bet that Theresa May's party would win more than 401 seats. Of course, they could disappoint on election night.

If Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party did better than expected, the Conservatives might only win 368 seats. If so, you would end up losing this trade.

Loss = (Closing Price - Opening Price) x stake
Loss = (368 - 401) x £4 per seat stake
Loss = -33 x £4 per seat stake
Loss = -£132 loss

Note: Conservative Seats market accurate as of 11- May-2017. Other firms may also offer this market.

Trading Risk Warning
'Political Spread Betting' edited by Jacob Wood, updated 08-Jun-17

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