If you were born in the UK, you’ll probably be familiar with the saying: “the bookies never lose”. For the most part, I’d agree with you; betting companies make huge profits on uninformed decisions made by “punters”, but…

What if you knew the outcome of a bet before the bookmakers knew?

For most markets this is simply impossible (e.g. football match outcomes), but for other markets information can often be leaked presenting profitable betting situations. Politics is one such example. In the recent UK general election, I was able to bet on seat-by-seat outcomes, acting on important tweets identified by our algorithm. This blog post details my 4 hour journey.

Step 1: Setting up my dashboard

First, I had to setup my Scoop dashboard to only show me relevant content. To do this, I created a new stream / column with a number of filters as shown in the first image. The filters I added were simply the name of all of the constituencies in the country (second image). I didn’t add these manually of course as multiple tags can be added by pasting a comma (or newline) separated list.

Step 2: Turn notifications on

The second step was to turn notifications on. Given the volume of information I had to consume (whilst placing bets) I didn’t have the time to monitor the stream for the entire time; turning on notifications meant I was alerted through desktop notifications when something important was happening. This way I could watch for tips, research and bet all at the same time.


Step 3: Wait for “tips” and bet!

Now for the easy part… making money! All I did now was wait for content and act accordingly; I was looking for any tweet which gave me insight into the voting outcome of a particular constituency. It didn’t need to be 100% correct – as with any sort of trading / betting, we are looking for value. That is, any situation where we feel the odds / price are undervalued. It’s no different to the “forecast” value on an economic calendar for Forex / commodity trading. Using Scoop and the content it was able to identify from Twitter, I was able to make an instant decision as to whether I felt the odds were particularly underpriced. The following details the bets I made and why I made them.

Hove

  • Bet: £100 on Labour @ 5/8
  • Exit Poll: Safe Labour
  • Profit: £62.50

The first bet was based on a tipoff from BBC’s South East Today’s Political Editor.


Bury South

  • Bet: £100 on Labour @ 1/3
  • Exit Poll: Likely Labour
  • Profit: £33.33

Although emotions don’t tell the whole story, they do given an indication that the odds are probably good value – good enough for me.


East Dunbartonshire

  • Bet: £200 on Lib Dem @ 1/4
  • Exit Poll: likely Lib Dem
  • Profit: £50.00

A tipoff straight from the source.


Sheffield Hallam

  • Bet: £100 on Labour @ 2/5
  • Exit Poll: narrow Labour
  • Profit: £40.00

Again a tipoff straight from the Lib Dem party.


Cardiff West

  • Bet: £100 on Labour @ 1/4
  • Exit Poll: Safe Labour
  • Profit: £25.00

A tipoff from ITV’s Welsh news correspondent.


East Lothian

  • Bet: £100 on Labour & 7/5
  • Exit Poll: Marginal SNP or Tory
  • Profit: £140.00

Again, a tipoff from a very reliable source (Political Editor, BBC).


Cardiff Central

  • Bet: £758 on Labour @ 1/16
  • Exit Poll: Safe Labour
  • Profit: £47.00

Can you believe I could still bet on a Labour victory even after it had been announced by ITV? Poor odds, but certain profit surely?


Other Bets

The bets above only compromise a subset of those I actually made. I’ve not included the rest as I’ve either not been able to find the Tweet which encouraged me to make the bet (it was slightly frantic at the time) or they are no longer available (i.e. the tweet has since been deleted). The other bets I made were as follows:

  • Southport: £845 @ ~4/9 on Labour (Exit: Conservatives) = £306 profit
  • Gordon: £15 @ 11/4 on Conservatives (Exit: SNP) = £51 profit
  • Brighton, Kemptown: £15 @ 11/4 on Conservatives (Exit: SNP) = £15 loss
  • Bolton North East: £100 @ 1/4 on Labour (Exit: Labour) = £25 profit
  • Ealing Central and Acton: £340 @ 2/9 on Labour (Exit: Labour) = £75 profit
  • Worsley and Eccles South: £1,000 @ 1/7 on Labour (Exit: Labour) = £142 profit

Summary

I undertook this task mostly as a “put your money where your mouth is” experiment, but it turned out to be both fun and profitable. In total I made 21 bets and won 20 – totalling around £981 profit. If only there could be a general election every week!

Scoop wasn’t designed for betting, however, our application helps Forex and Commodity day traders get access to market moving news, before it breaks.

Want to trial Scoop? Get in touch for a demo account.