UK bookmakers are set to stop offering huge odds ahead of this year’s English Premier League season, following Leicester City’s 5,000-1 title triumph during the 2015-16 campaign.
Ladbrokes said it suffered a £3 million (€3.5 million/$3.9 million) hit on Leicester’s win during 2015-16, while William Hill has suggested that the unexpected triumph left it with a bill of between £2 million and £3 million.
Both UK leaders are this year offering odds at a maximum of 1,000-1 for outsider teams such as newly-promoted Burnley and Middlesbrough, although some rivals are offering up to 1,500-1.
Ladbrokes said that supporters of other unfashionable teams have been inspired by Leicester’s title win, with business on outsiders up 300% season-on-season.
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes, said: “Long odds amount to about 10% of betting on the English Premier League, and Leicester’s win has reignited hope for fans that their team can win or be in the top four.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in teams like Middlesbrough and Burnley winning the league, so the hit we took has turned out to be a great marketing opportunity for football betting.”
Philip Bowcock, chief executive of William Hill, said: “We’ve currently got seven teams with odds of 1,000-1. Clearly these bets aren’t ludicrous because they win.”
Related article: Ladbrokes launches Mirror Fantasy iTeam league