UK Oddsmakers Abnormally Mum on Royal Family Furor

Posted on: March 9, 2021, 08:21h. 

Last updated on: March 9, 2021, 11:11h.

Oddsmakers in the United Kingdom don’t typically shy away from a good scandal. But when it comes to the allegations of racism and bullying levied at the royal family by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, bookmakers are avoiding the rumpus.

UK oddsmakers Harry Meghan odds
Duchess Meghan and Queen Elizabeth II are seen here in 2018 on friendlier terms. UK oddsmakers aren’t getting involved in the family controversy. (Image: Getty)

During their two-hour expose with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night, Harry and Meghan stunned the world when they revealed a member of the family expressed “concerns” regarding the skin color of their first unborn child. Winfrey said that the Duke of Sussex told her off-camera that the family member was not Queen Elizabeth II or Prince Philip, sparking speculation as to who it was. 

In years past, the scandal would be a gold mine for UK oddsmakers. During the 2016 presidential election, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power ran an advertising campaign, “Orange is the New Black?” with odds on Donald Trump replacing Barack Obama in the White House. 

But with a thorough review of the gaming industry underway in the UK, and stakeholders desperately seeking to avoid further tightening of regulations, it appears bookmakers such as Paddy Power are steering clear of potentially offensive campaigns.

The goal, Casino.org’s UK correspondent Philip Conneller says, is to be seen as “behaving.”

Novelty Betting

Sports betting continues to expand across the US. Legal books are operational in 21 states, and more are coming.

But unlike in the UK, novelty bets remain largely prohibited in the US. Nevada, seen as the gold standard of the sports betting industry, has long barred allowing oddsmakers to take wagers on events other than sports. Novelty bets are odds on events other than sports, including politics and entertainment.

In the UK, however, novelty betting is a cherished pastime. But with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports conducting an in-depth review of the 2005 Gambling Act – that amid outcries from critics that the industry is greatly damaging society – oddsmakers are taking the high road with the royal family. 

Harry and Meghan Odds

UK oddsmakers aren’t accepting wagers on the skin color of Harry and Meghan’s second child, nor offering odds on who in the family expressed concerns of the couple’s offspring’s skin color. But there are some far less controversial odds on the board.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed to Oprah that they’re having a girl. The betting favorite for the name is Diana at 3/1. The late Princess Diana is Harry’s mother. She tragically died in a high-speed car accident in 1997, her driver thought to be trying to escape paparazzi. The driver, Henri Paul, was later found to be intoxicated.

After Diana, the betting favorites are Elizabeth (10/1), Grace (14/1), and Alice and Catherine (20/1). 

Other lines on the couple include whether Harry and Meghan will return to live permanently in the UK in 2021. “No” is the heavy favorite at 1/14 (implied odds 93.33 percent).  

“Will Harry and Meghan lose their royal titles in 2021?” is another betting question. “No” is again the favorite at 1/10.