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Australian Sportsbet to lose money over election blunder

Sportsbet, an Australian betting company, has paid out for the wrong result in the country’s elections. The company handed out $1.3 million (1.17 million) to those who thought that the opposition Bill Shorten’s Labor will win Saturday’s federal election.

Sportsbet paid out on Mr Shorten becoming prime minister two days before Australians went to vote. However, voters surprisingly chose to re-elect Scott Morrison’s Coalition government. Sportsbet said on Thursday Mr Shorten was at must-win odds of 1.16 to win as all the polls had predicted a Labor win for the first time in six years.

But with most of the votes counted, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a Coalition leader, is projected to win a shock majority. His party was around 7.5 to win as late as Friday morning.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sportsbet stands to lose at least $5.2 million (€4.66 million), taking into account the early payout and those who bet on the Coalition.

Despite the massive loss, Sportsbet had not lost its humour when asked to comment.

“The quality of toilet paper and stationery will need to be significantly decreased at the Sportsbet offices to cover these costs and we can only keep the heaters on for two hours a day, but in the end, we have a result where most of our punters on a market are winners,” said Sportsbet spokesman Richard Hummerston.

It’s not the first time a bookmaker has paid out early and got surprised by voters during the election. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, paid out on a Hillary Clinton win the month before the November 2016 US presidential elections. The company later announced that it paid out $1m (€897k) early to those who bet on Clinton and $4.5m (€4.03m) to those who bet on Donald Trump.

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