July 22, 2013

Betting agencies have big day on royal baby names

The Associated Press

LONDON — Bookies cashed in big Monday as thousands of Britons placed bets on what Prince William and his wife, Kate, would name their newborn child.

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A news cameraman reads a newspaper across from St. Mary's Hospital's exclusive Lindo Wing in London, Monday, July 22, 2013. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince William's wife, Kate, has been admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labor. Royal officials said that Kate traveled by car to St. Mary's Hospital in central London. Kate _ also known as the Duchess of Cambridge _ is expected to give birth in the private Lindo Wing of the hospital, where Princess Diana gave birth to William and his younger brother, Prince Harry. The baby will be third in line for the British throne _ behind Prince Charles and William _ and is anticipated eventually to become king or queen. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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A bookmaker agency employee poses for the photographers with a board of odds regarding the royal baby's name, as part of a publicity stunt, across St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Media are preparing for royal-mania as Britain's Duchess of Cambridge plans to give birth to the new third-in-line to the throne in mid-July, at the Lindo Wing. Cameras from all over the world are set to be jostling outside for an exclusive first glimpse of Britain's Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's first child.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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Ladbrokes took 50,000 bets in the hours after the Duchess of Cambridge went into labor Monday morning. Company spokesman Alex Donohue said the public rushed to put small amounts of money, such as a pound, on the royal infant's name because they "want to be involved."

"Never underestimate the British public's obsession with the royal family," he said. "This is such a big story. And besides, it's summer. The weather is good."

For much of the day, the money was on Alexandra for a girl and James or George for a boy. Late Monday, it was announced that Kate had delivered a son, though there was no word on the name.

Betting agency Coral described it as the biggest non-sporting betting event in the company's history, with gamblers racing to wager on everything about the new heir to the throne.

"The whole world has been waiting for Kate to go into labor and now that she has, we have witnessed another betting frenzy," said Nicola McGeady, spokeswoman for the firm, in the hours before the birth was announced.

The betting went well beyond the name.

Paddy Power took bets on the color Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, will wear when she comes to visit.

Ladbrokes had odds of 33-to-1 that the new heir, who would be third in line for the throne, would represent Great Britain at the Olympics. It's not that far-fetched — equestrian athlete Zara Phillips, the queen's granddaughter, won silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

The public may have to wait, though, to cash in their betting slips. It is not uncommon for royals to take their time naming babies: Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip waited for a month in the case of Prince Charles.

 

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