Conservative Party Avalanche UK Election Win Prompts Gambling Industry Shares to Rise

Posted on: December 13, 2019, 11:28h. 

Last updated on: December 13, 2019, 12:11h.

Shares in Britain’s biggest gambling companies jumped on Friday, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson swept to victory in the country’s general elections.

UK election
Boris Johnson’s healthy working majority means Brexit has more than a 95 percent chance of happening next year, bookies believe. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Johnson’s Conservative Party — also known as the Tory Party — is widely seen as a more industry-friendly choice than the opposition Labour party, which promised in its manifesto to “introduce a new Gambling Act fit for the digital age.”

William Hill’s share price was up around 5.3 percent by lunchtime Friday, while GVC was up 2.25 percent.

For an industry that has been battered by tightened regulations under the existing Conservative government, the idea of a party that advocates even stricter controls rewriting the Gambling Act was never going to sit well with investors.

But the markets’ optimism could be misplaced. The Tories have also pledged to review the Gambling Act, and tighter controls could still be lying in wait.

Brexit Highly Likely in 2020

Johnson’s victory over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was widely predicted by bookies, but the margin was unexpectedly emphatic.

It was Labour’s worst performance in a general election since 1935, as many traditional supporters in the so-called left-wing “Red Wall” in the north of England abandoned the party in favor of one that had simply promised to “Get Brexit Done.”

After more than three years of stalemate, Johnson now has a healthy majority and a mandate to leave the European Union. The bookies now believe Brexit is a huge favorite to happen in 2020, at 1/20, which represents a more than 95 percent implied probability.

A closer result would have seen yet more impasse in Parliament and far stronger opposition to Johnson’s EU withdrawal deal, which might have led to a second Brexit referendum in 2020. That is now an unlikely 209-1 with bookmakers.

Corbyn has said he will stand down, with many in the party blaming the defeat on his personal unelectability. Former Human Rights lawyer Sir Keir Starmer is the favorite to become the next leader of the opposition, at around 2/1 with most bookmakers.

Exit Poll Spoiled the Fun

While voter turnout was reasonably high at 67.23 percent of the population, a William Hill spokesman told that in terms of betting volume, it was a “fairly quiet night and a small winner for us.”

That was down to the exit poll, which was released as soon as the ballots closed, and predicted an even bloodier bath for Labour.

“The exit poll, which normally sparks a gamble, killed the betting dead, as we went 1/50 Conservative majority after that!” our source said.

The exit poll also saw the pound rise more than 3c against the dollar in a matter of minutes, as the markets realized clarity on Brexit would be restored.