Want a flutter on Greece leaving the eurozone? It may already be too late. A surge in bets has forced Britain's biggest bookmakers William Hill Plc and Ladbrokes Plc to suspend betting on the odds of Greece dropping out.It's a safe bet the Euro will not go away in 2012. But Laying 33-1 odds is not my cup of tea. The bets on 2015 are more interesting.
William Hill said the level of betting on Greece quitting first was such that it had become too risky to continue taking bets, with the odds pushed right down to 1/4.
"We've had Greece as hot favorites for some time but increasingly it was becoming the only one that people wanted to bet on," said a spokesman for William Hill, Britain's largest betting firm.
"It wasn't a healthy situation for bookmakers. We found it was virtually impossible to make a book."
Britain's second-biggest betting firm Ladbrokes said it had suspended betting on Greece dropping out of the eurozone by the end of the year, after repeatedly slashing the odds.
"It is safer for us to suspend betting than to keep cutting the odds," a spokesman for Ladbrokes said. "We have been slashing the odds repeatedly over the last few days."
Ladbrokes is still taking bets on the Greek stock market losing more than 25 percent of its value in a single day's trading by the end of 2012.
And if you fear Greece is just the beginning of the end for the European single currency, Ladbrokes is offering odds on the euro ceasing to exist by the end of 2012, which would make punters 33 times their original stake.
Ladbrokes is offering odds of 5/6 that the euro will cease to exist by the end of 2015 and 4/1 on two or more states to leave the euro by the end of the year.
The euro is highly likely to be around in some form, even if not as a national currency.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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