Royal baby wait means big money for UK bookies

As the world waited for Duchess Kate and Prince William's royal baby to make its debut, bookmakers in the United Kingdom watched the money pour in.

“It’s gone absolutely crazy,’’ Nicola McGeady, a spokesperson for the betting agency Coral, told TODAY.com. “The announcement that the Duchess went into labor has sparked a one-million-bet frenzy worldwide for us. It’s the biggest non-sporting event we’ve ever seen.”

Coral brought in about $1.53 million in total bets regarding the baby’s gender, name and birth date, with a profit of about $153,000 so far, according to McGeady.

Ladbrokes, another U.K.-based betting agency, got an average of 893 bets per hour and saw its bets increase by 10,000 since it was announced Duchess Kate went into labor early Monday morning, spokesperson Jessica Bridge told TODAY.com. Nearly 100,000 individual wagers were placed since the betting opened.

“It is a betting bonanza right now,’’ Bridge said. “Everybody thought we were expecting an early July baby, and a lot thought her due date might be (Princess) Diana’s birthday on July 13, which would’ve been a really big payout on our end.”

Irish betting agency Paddy Power took in about $61,000 since the Duchess went into labor and $765,000 in total royal baby bets since the pregnancy was announced, spokesperson Rory Scott told TODAY.com. The company expects betting on the royal baby to be a million-dollar market.

However, the profits could go bust if one result comes to fruition: Money is coming in heavily on a girl baby named Alexandra, according to all three spokespeople. Ladbrokes has the odds of Duchess Kate giving birth to a girl at 1-2 and the odds on the girl being named Alexandra at 6-4.

“Any money that we've made up to this point, we could be giving it straight back to the punters (bettors) if (a girl named Alexandra) happens, so it could be a short-lived profit,’’ Bridge said.

“It could end up being a nightmare result for us if the baby is female — we would be losing about 100,000 pounds,’’ McGeady said. “If it’s Alexandra we would lose about 250,000 pounds. If it’s a boy, the punters will be tearing up their betting slips. Also, the name Alexandra has attracted bets as big as 5,000 pounds, which makes us think someone knows more than we do. We would be crying, running scared of that result, and punters will be even more joyous if it’s a girl named Alexandra.”

The names Charlotte and Isabella brought in a large number of bets, while the odds on Diana went from 6-1 to 16-1, according to Scott. The name George was a consistent front-runner if it’s a boy, and Alexander went from 25-1 on Sunday to 14-1 on Monday, according to Scott.

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