Wednesday 22 November 2017

Bookies' odds the only poll that counts

We are entering a country represented by Sinn Fein on the one hand and Paddy Power on the other, writes Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

The same-sex marriage referendum, like so many of the great moral issues of the age, comes down eventually to one question: which of the betting corporations can screw the most publicity out of it?

The journalist Bruce Arnold, who has campaigned for a No vote, recently wrote of an email which he received from one Barry Orr, of Betfair, a chirpy missive which went something like this: "A Yes vote has always been favoured by punters but since some key Irish thinkers, such as Mary McAleese, gave the Yes side a ringing endorsement, punters have been backing it like defeat is out of the question, driving the price as low as 1/10, so we have taken a decision to pay out as it's now a foregone conclusion that the referendum will pass."

Strangely, Bruce Arnold has continued with his campaign even after Betfair officially 'called' the referendum by paying out to punters on the other side, Mr Arnold perhaps figuring Betfair were not exactly making an enormous commitment here - at those odds you'd need to put on ¤100 to make a tenner. Which means there probably weren't that many punters to be paid anyway.

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