Bookmakers Edge Toward No-Deal Brexit After Salzburg Drama

(Bloomberg) -- Influential U.K. lawmaker Nicky Morgan puts the chance of a no-deal Brexit above 50 percent. At least some bookmakers agree with her.

Betway rates the chances of the U.K. crashing out of the European Union without an agreement at 5/6. That suggests a 55 percent probability, compared with 40 percent before last week’s stormy meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s demand that the bloc show “respect” to her country.

“The EU doesn’t appear to be rushing to provide a counter-option to the Chequers deal, and as the clock keeps ticking the odds of a no-deal Brexit scenario could continue to shorten,” said Alan Alger, a spokesman for Betway.

“The risk of a negotiated no-deal” scenario after the Salzburg summit “is looking high, so you’re looking at, I’d have said, over 50 percent,” Morgan, head of the U.K. Parliament’s Treasury Committee, said at a conference in London on Wednesday. Ladbrokes Plc’s odds imply a 66 percent chance of the U.K. crashing out without an agreement.

Elsewhere, cooler heads are at play. Paddy Power Betfair Plc, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, said the chances of a no-agreement scenario are about 44 percent. The U.K. and the EU will probably reach a Brexit accord by November, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday, even after last week’s meeting of European leaders.

Still, the notion that betting odds provide a better guide to the direction of political events than polls was dealt a blow by the U.K.’s 2016 Brexit vote, when odds implied a 90 percent chance of the nation remaining in the EU as the campaign drew to a close.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.