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Tourists take photographs next to a road that marks the England - Scotland border, at a lay-by on the A1 road near Berwick, August 20, 2013. (TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)
Tourists take photographs next to a road that marks the England - Scotland border, at a lay-by on the A1 road near Berwick, August 20, 2013. (TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)

Gambler wagers $670,000 U.S. that Scots will reject independence Add to ...

A gambler in England has placed what bookmakers say is one of the world’s biggest ever political bets, wagering 400,000 pounds ($670,000 U.S.) that Scots will reject independence in a referendum in September.

The middle-aged man, who has not been named, spoke with an English accent as he placed the bet in the prosperous southern county of Surrey near London at odds of 1/4 on, meaning he will make roughly $167,000 if he wins, said bookmakers William Hill.

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“As far as we can ascertain this is the biggest political bet ever struck,” said Graham Sharpe, media projects director at William Hill.

The bet is twice the $335,000, also put on a “no” vote, staked by a Scottish man earlier in the independence campaign. By way of comparison, a customer similarly gambled $335,000 on David Cameron, now Britain’s prime minister, winning the leadership of his Conservative Party in 2005.

Scots will vote in a referendum on Sept. 18 on whether to leave the United Kingdom. Polls currently suggest roughly 40 per cent of Scots will vote against independence and 30 per cent will vote for, but many voters remain undecided.

William Hill believe they will turn over more than one million pounds in bets on the independence outcome.

The bookmakers said they had shortened their odds on a “no” vote to 1/5, suggesting this was now more likely to happen than previously thought. Their odds on a “yes” vote stand at 10/3, meaning winners getting almost $17 back for every five they bet.

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