Current Affairs Betting shops give odds for Czech presidential election

09-02-2008 17:46 | Dominik Jůn

Czechs may not be able to vote in Fridays presidential election but many have placed a bet on their outcome. All three of the major Czech betting shops have presented odds for either a Klaus or a Švejnar victory. Despite candidate Jan Švejnar’s recent rise in popularity, the odds still firmly remain in president Klaus’ favour.

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Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Tipsport, Sazka and Fortuna all give the same odds for president Václav Klaus being re-elected tomorrow - 1.2-1. Conversely, the odds of Klaus not being elected stand at 3.6-1, while a Švejnar victory is given 4-1 odds by Tipsport and Fortuna – Sazka gives him only slightly better odds, 3.5-1. But the speculation does not end there – one can also bet on whether the next president will be a man, at a pretty certain 1.01-1; whether it will be a woman, at anywhere between 20 to 60-1, or whether neither Klaus nor Švejnar will win at 35-1.

Lubomír Ježek is a spokesperson for the Tipsport betting company:

“Far more Czechs are betting on the Czech elections than on the American ones. In fact, the figures are in the millions, and because people have been able to bet on this election since last June, it will certainly be one of the biggest social or non-sporting bets in recent years.”

Jan Švejnar and Václav KlausJan Švejnar and Václav Klaus And what about the specific candidates?

“Basically, at the beginning, Mr. Klaus had odds of about 1.5-1, and gradually his position has strengthened. Today the odds are 1.2-1. We accepted bets on other candidates last year, such as Mr. Zieleniec, Mr. Dientsbier, and now there’s Mr. Švejnar. In recent weeks we have seen bets in the thousands and even hundreds of thousands of crowns. In fact, we know that seven people in the Czech Republic have bet on the fact that the new president will be a woman, which is also a possibility.”

Despite increasing reports that this will be a close race, the bookies clearly still have Václav Klaus as the favourite. I hit the streets to see what ordinary Czechs thought:

“Who would you put your money on if you were betting in this election?”

“I think Klaus, because he has better ideas.”

“And you think he will win?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“I guess Klaus will win.”

“And who would you prefer to win?”

“Švejnar.”

“Klaus.”

“And who would you prefer to win?”

“Klaus.”

“I would like Mr Švejanr to be president, but I think that Klaus will win.”

“Klaus.”

“I would bet on Klaus.”

“I think so, too.”

“Maybe, Mrs. Clinton.”

“No, no, the Czech presidential elections!”

“I don’t know.”

“If you had to make a choice?”

“Maybe Mr. Klaus, because he was president.”

“Klaus, Klaus!”

So it seems that the overwhelming majority of Czechs are also expecting a Klaus victory. As to whether they and the bookmakers have it right, we’ll have to wait and see…

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