Leicester City Premiership Win Costs Bookies MillionsMay 4, 2016 11:05 am
Sports fans in the UK have been celebrating one of the greatest sporting achievements ever after beginning of the season 5000-1 long-shot Leicester City won the English Premier League on Monday night, with two games to spare. One group of people who have been less than enthusiastic over the remarkable victory, though, is the country’s bookies whose gross miscalculations is believed to have cost them a collective £20 to £30 million ($30m to $43m).
Unfortunately for them, the savings they may have made from the thousands of losing wagers placed by customers on perennial favorites such as Chelsea, Man City, and Arsenal would have been insufficient to soften their formidable losses. Commenting on the unprecedented situation, UK poker pro and former bookmaker Neil Channing explained:
“This is 100 percent genuine. Bookmakers are screaming. And they have profit warnings and whatever, and this has hurt them.”
One established high street bookmaker chain claims to have lost £2.5 million courtesy of Leicester City’s winning performance, with the losses not just coming as a result of the huge odds offered on the team pre-season. At Christmas, bookies were still offering enticing odds of 20-1 on Leicester, which is incredible considering whoever tops the league around that time of the year is generally considered a strong favorite to take down the title at the end of the season. Elaborating further, Channing said:
“People say whoever is leading the league at Christmas often go on to win the league so to have them at 20-1 is unprecedented. Had it been Chelsea in the same spot they would have been 1-5.”
The previous season, Leicester City FC narrowly avoided being relegated to a lower division, but now stands to reap up to $220 million in perks from its historic season. That figure mostly consists of revenues alloted from the Premier League revenue share scheme, as well as around $48.5 million for qualifying for the Champions League. In addition, the club’s Facebook account has seen a 500% surge in followers this season.