Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mark Oaten is Innocent Party in Potential Betting Scandal

Is there such a thing as OFBet? Earlier this week William Hill opened a book on whether Mark Oaten would hold his seat at the next election. Bear in mind that when they did this he was still a candidate in the leadership contest and the Rent Boy scandal was still firmly under wraps... apart, of course, to a selection of News of the World journalists and maybe a very very small number of other people. With a majority of more than 9,000 most independent observers would regard the possibility of him losing as rather unlikely...unless, unless there was something that might cause a spectacular downfall. I know nothing about betting and do not partake in it (he says, with a slightly Paddy Ashdown-esque holier than thou moral tone) but I know the stink of hypocrisy when I smell it. Anyone know which body regulates the likes of William Hill so I can ask for an official inquiry and the for the book to be opened? I understand that's the terminology!

UPDATE: I understand from PoliticalBetting.com there were also strange betting movements on Betfair related to Oaten.

6 comments:

Andrew Woodman said...

I've raised this on PB.com. Oaten drifted on betfair all week for no real reason other than inside information. The William Hill book about him retaining his seat seemed very odd as well. There is an investigation into the betting patterns regarding Harry Redknapps move to Portsmouth. I'll write to betfair asking for a similar investigation into the Oaten drift.

Anonymous said...

I believe the regulating authority for Wm Hill is the FSA - certainly this is the case with regard to the spread betting firms.

Greg said...

There's no law against insider betting. As for Oaten "drifting all week" - well hardly surprising considering he was obviously considering pulling out all week and finally made the decision on Thursday. People are far too eager to jump on supposed "betting scandals" - this is not the stockmarket where people mucking about with shares can cost businesses (and indirectly the wider public who have no influence on the thing) billions of pounds.

As for William Hill - I hardly find it likely that they profited out of the market. 5/4 for Oaten losing his seat in the light of what has happened was a steal! Far more likely that somebody asked for a market and they naively obliged - the bookies are quite open about the fact that they are pretty clueless about political betting.

Greg said...

Incidentally the reason there are investigations (the ones that matter) into the betting on Harry Redknapp's move to Portsmouth is not because a few people might have made a lot of money out of it, but because there is an FA offence of "bringing the game into disrepute" and also for what the betting says about whether Portsmouth illegally tapped him up.

Iain Dale said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TDR said...

Does seem very odd that Will Hill did not smell a rat when someone asked for the 'Oaten retaining his seat' bet.

But no-one is really at fault. If you were a NOTW journalist and Wiliam Hill agreed to take the bet then why not do it. It is Will Hill's free choice over whether to offer that market.