The UK’s referendum on EU membership is on June 23—but how likely is it that voters will choose to ditch the bloc? Place your bets!
The analysts are weighing in, with number crunchers at Citi recently putting the probability of a British exit (aka “Brexit”) at 30 to 40%, similar to asset manager Pimco’s estimate last week. Polls of the voting public, meanwhile, have shown a fairly consistent lead for the “stay” vote, but with a lot of volatility and a sizable share of “don’t know” responses clouding the picture:
And then there are the bookies. Britain’s bookmakers, who are not known to part with money easily, are relatively sure of themselves when it comes to Brexit. At the time of writing, many sportsbooks are offering 2-to-1 odds for a bet on Brexit, implying the probability of a “leave” vote is around 33%. Some £1.2 million ($1.7 million) worth of wagers have been matched on Betfair’s exchange at these odds.
Recent events haven’t altered the bookies’ convictions much. The concessions won by prime minister David Cameron last week granting the UK “special status” within the EU made Brexit a bit less likely in their minds, but London mayor Boris Johnson recently joining the “leave” camp tightened the odds back to where they were to begin with.
To put things in perspective, here are five upcoming events that bookmakers think are roughly as likely as the UK leaving the EU in June. If you have a strong hunch about the likelihood of one of these things, but haven’t been following the Brexit debate too closely, now you know how to feel about the possibility that the UK will cut itself loose from the EU this summer:
- Manchester United to beat Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday
- Wales to win the Six Nations rugby championship
- Spotlight to win the Oscar for Best Picture
- Alain Juppé to become the next French president
- The Republican US vice-presidential nominee to be a woman