‘Bets are off!’ Queen Elizabeth abdication rumors see ‘unusual’ flurry for bookmaker
Coral, one of the biggest betting houses in the UK, had begun to suspect something was up at midday on Wednesday, when people started enquiring about the odds.
According to the company, six bets appeared out of the blue, with one person staking £200 (US$311) on the Queen giving up the crown. The bookie had been offering odds of 10-1.
Coral’s Nicola McGeady told the British media, there’s “no smoke without fire.” The bookmaker said that the queries on the odds were “so specific” and made in quick succession to each other that it immediately thought something was up and decided to pull the bet, rather to “be safe than sorry.”
McGeady said that “throughout the year there has been major speculation about the queen’s future, but today’s gamble has really caught us by surprise.”
Buckingham Palace was quick to say that the prospect of the queen stepping down was “not true.”
The speech itself is usually pre-recorded for BBC and goes on at 3pm local times across the Commonwealth nations. Its role primarily is that of a personal message to the various dominions, discussing the events of the year.
Indeed, a Royal source told the Telegraph, “If the queen was going to make a major announcement, she wouldn’t do it in a pre-recorded speech that is shown in the South Pacific Commonwealth realms several hours before it is shown here.”
"It would mean the end of her reign would officially be announced in Tuvalu, rather than in London. So no, it's not true,” the unnamed source said. They also added that never has it been the case that an announcement has been made during the queen’s Christmas address.
Bizarre. Coral suspends betting on the Queen announcing her abdication in Christmas Day broadcast after a rush of bets today.
— Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) 17 декабря 2014
When the queen’s spokesman was asked for comment on the unusual number of bets, they replied that the Palace has a policy “not to comment on any bookmakers’ work.”
This sort of betting activity has taken place at Coral in the past, the last time being January, when £200 was placed on the Queen’s abdication in 2014, soon after reports emerged that her eldest son Charles, the Prince of Wales, was taking a more active role in her affairs.
And Coral wasn’t the only bookmaker experiencing the pre-speech rumors: William Hill, another bookmaker, has cut last year’s odds of the Queen handing over the crown from 16-1 to 5-1. Other things people are betting on include whether the Christmas Day broadcast of the Queen’s speech will be TV’s most-watched program on that day – chances of that have slumped from 100/1 to 7/1.