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In the UK, a £10m sports betting disaster unfolds

Sun, 24 Apr 2016

In the UK, a £10m sports betting disaster is unfolding — at least for the bookies.

That's the estimated payout if Leicester City win the Premier League.

The team is five points clear of in-form Tottenham Hotspurs with four games to go (against Swansea, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, representing 12 points if they win each).

Last season, Leicester played like schoolboys and only narrowly avoided relegation.

It seems hard to believe now with new coach Claudio Ranieri being hailed as a tactical genius and striker Jamie Vardy elevated to the England team, but the team went into the current season as 5000-to-1 outsiders.

At the start of the season, 47 people placed a bet with Ladbrokes for Leicester to win the title, of which 23 have cashed out [accepted a lower but guaranteed payment] while 24 are still awaiting their fate.

"Leicester's win would be the biggest upset in the history of betting," Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes told BBC Sport. "It would be the worst result for us financially and our biggest payout by a distance.

"If Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United would have won, the total payouts would have been in the few hundred thousands."

Last month, a Leicester fan cashed out for £72,000 from a £50 bet on his team to win the title, the BBC says.

The Daily Mail reports one mystery backer in Guildford, Surrey, will scoop £140,000 after putting on a £75 each way bet at odds of 1,500-1 with William Hill .

Another punter in Worcester put £10 on with William Hill at 5,000-1 and will land a bumper payout of £66,666, the Mail says.

He, or she, will have a nervous wait. Jamie Vardy won't play for Leicester this weekend after earning a red card for a dive against West Ham. He also barked back at the ref; a resulting hearing could see his ban extended for a second game.

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In the UK, a £10m sports betting disaster unfolds