Bookies cash in on TV election debates about future of society's poorest

By Jonathan Bartley
April 12, 2010

Ahead of Thursday's election debate between the leaders of the three biggest parties, bookmakers are announcing how they are cashing in and encouraging people to gamble on the result.

David Cameron is emerging as the 'favourite' to 'win' the live debate during which the leaders will discuss issues that will affect millions of vulnerable people in the UK including asylum seekers, the elderly, the disabled and people in poverty.

David Cameron is the 5/6 favourite to be declared the winner of the first TV debate with the Prime Minister 7/4 and Nick Clegg the 5/2 outsider.

Paddy Power will be offering live in-play betting on the winner of the debate with odds responding to the performances of each of the three leaders throughout the Thursday show.

The 'winner' will be decided by an ICM Poll which will declare who the public believed to have been the best performer on the night.

Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power, is quoted as saying: “Whilst David Cameron is the favourite for his skills on stage, as this is the first ever TV debate, we are as much in the dark as the viewers as to what to expect and there could be wild fluctuation in the in-play betting. Nick Clegg, for example, is the current outsider but has nothing to lose so his surprise factor may be translated by some people into thinking he was the best performer on the night.”

Other bets available on the debates include which of the strict rules on the studio audience will be broken first, with applauding the 11/8 favourite ahead of booing at 7/4 and streaking a 50/1 outsider. Nick Clegg is the 11/10 favourite to feel the pressure first and to noticeably perspire on TV.

Paddy Power are also betting on ITV’s likely viewing figure for the show, making an audience of 11 to 14 million the 7/4 favourite although BBC are expected to pull in the most viewers when it is their turn to host in a couple of weeks time.

After Neil Kinnock declared Brown had a ‘radio face’ Paddy Power are also offering 500/1 that the PM wears a Tony Blair mask during the ITV show.

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