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Scottish independence referendum: man bets £400,000 on no vote 11/06/2014
Severin Carrell,
Surrey punter in line for £100,000 profit from what bookmakers describe as 'biggest political bet ever struck'

A man from Surrey has gambled £400,000 on Scotland voting no in the independence referendum, in one of the largest political bets ever placed.

Bookmakers William Hill said the customer presented a banker's draft for £400,000 at a branch in south-west London at odds of 1/4 for a no vote, potentially earning a profit of £100,000.

William Hill, which has already had a £200,000 bet placed on a no vote, said it had now cut its odds against a yes vote to 1/5 and slightly lengthened the odds of a yes vote from 11/4 to 10/3.

The bet came as an opinion poll carried out by TNS suggested that English support for Scottish independence has declined, as more English voters believed a yes vote would harm the UK. Backing for a yes vote has declined to 18% from 22%, while backing for a no vote has grown by eight points to 61%.

The referendum, which is being staged on 18 September, has already been described by bookmakers as one of the biggest political betting events outside a general election and a US presidential race.

Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for the bookmakers, said: "As far as we can ascertain, this is the biggest political bet ever struck.

"The previous record was a £200,000 bet also struck on a no vote in the Scottish referendum earlier in the campaign, and the same amount was gambled by a customer who backed David Cameron to become Tory leader.

"We are now well on the way to turning over £1m on the outcome of the Scottish referendum, which is exceeding our expectations."

He said the number of bets taken by William Hill on the referendum was split 55% in favour of a no vote and 45% for yes – broadly equivalent to the results of some recent polls.

The £400,000 punt has been matched by a very similar bet placed on the Australian federal election in September 2013, when an Australian gambler placed A$750,000 (£419,000) on the coalition led by Tony Abbott winning last year's federal election.
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