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04th May 2016

Leicester’s Premier League title win has hit bookmakers harder than anyone could have imagined

Staggering losses

Carl Anka

5000/1. Those were the (now well remembered) odds the bookies gave at the start of the season on Leicester winning the Premier League title.

It was meant to be impossible. A novelty bet a couple of bookmakers stick on at the start to get a few die-hard fans or bored students to chuck a couple of euro on when they have a bit of loose change.

But then the impossible became possible and Leicester City won the Premier League.

We still can’t believe it. The players were in uproar after the Spurs game. Fans are still struggling to put it into words. Gary Lineker’s on Cloud 9 and we don’t seem to mind the thought of him in his smalls.

Everyone’s loving football. But the bookies are weeping right now.

The Telegraph are reporting that bookmakers across the UK and Ireland could pay out up to £25 million (€31.5m) thanks to Leicester City’s victory, making it the biggest loss in history in the single sporting market in Britain and Ireland.


Ladbrokes spokesperson David Williams told the Telegraph that we’ll never again see odds in these realms ever again.

“The first rule of bookmaking is ‘never say never’, and we broke that rule last August,” Williams said.

“Leicester winning the title was in the realms of the ridiculous, and it has cost us the biggest anti-post payout in our 130-year history.

“For a 5,000-1 shot to emerge as a winner is absolutely off the charts in betting terms. The longest odds on a Grand National winner were 100-1, England were 250-1 before they won the Ashes in 1981, and Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson as a 50-1 shot in 1990, so nothing else comes close.

“It means we will have to completely recalibrate how we approach betting on outsiders.”

According to Ladbrokes numbers, 57 people took up the 5,000-1 bet at the start of the season, with 36 of them choosing to cash out early. The largest remaining bet was of £20, which has earned the lucky punter £100,000 and the privilege of calling themselves betting pals with Tom Hanks.

But spare a thought for all those people who cashed out way too early on the impossible Leicester City dream. Still, at least you got some money. Right? RIGHT?

See you all again next season for a “Leicester to win the Champions League” bet?

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