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Scots Independence Odds Longest Ever After $80,000 Ladbrokes Bet

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The odds of Scotland becoming independent are now at their longest ever after a 50,000-pound ($79,620) bet was placed in Edinburgh on voters in the country opting to remain in the U.K. in next year’s referendum.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes Plc said yesterday it revised its odds on a “No” vote to 1-8 from 1-7, meaning a customer would get one pound for every 8 pounds staked. Someone in the Edinburgh area placed a 200,000-pound bet against independence earlier this year, Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue said.

“We’ve never known ‘Yes’ odds as big as this,” Donohue said in an e-mailed statement. “We’ve taken some serious cash on a ‘No’ outcome, again suggesting confidence in the referendum failing is at an all-time high.”

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, have scheduled the referendum for Sept. 18, 2014. A poll published last week showed support for independence trailing that for the status quo by 18 percentage points.

William Hill Plc, which is offering the same odds as Ladbrokes, took three bets in June totaling 200,000 pounds from a man in Glasgow that voters will reject independence, spokesman Rupert Adams said by telephone yesterday. The man, who was in his late 50s and had a pronounced Scottish accent, will win 36,666 pounds if voters reject independence, Adams said.

Both bookmakers, the largest in Britain, are offering odds of 5-1 that Scotland will leave the U.K.

About 70 percent of bets taken on the vote have gone on a “No” outcome with 30 percent on a “Yes,” Donohue at Ladbrokes said. At William Hill, 45 percent of wagers are for “Yes” with the remainder on a “No” result, Adams said.

The referendum is the biggest betting event in Scottish political history, with bookmakers anticipating stakes of more than 2 million pounds by the time the nation goes to the polls next year, Ladbrokes said. William Hill has so far taken bets of more than 300,000 pounds, Adams said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Farrand in Edinburgh at tfarrand@bloomberg.net; Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rodney Jefferson at r.jefferson@bloomberg.net

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