Flutter on a first: Ladbrokes taking bets on degree classifications

Image credit: Gene Hunt

Just in time for the start of term, UK bookmaker Ladbrokes has attracted attention with their dedicated sub-site catering to bets on whether students will leave university with a first, upper or lower second, or third.

The scheme enables third-party members such as parents to place bets of up to £10 on the final degree classification of students about to enrol at one of 20 universities, ranging from Cambridge to the University of East London.

PR Officer Alex Donohue commented: “Every year we get requests from parents who want to back their pride and joy to go on and get top grades at universities. We decided to build a site that streamlines the process and sets it up in a more formal way.”

The website uses a simple algorithm which takes into account degree subject, university and A-level results to calculate the odds. The accuracy of this method is brought into question by the absence of an ‘A*’ option in the results field. Questioned about this on Twitter, Donohue replied, “the algorithm would consider A & A* as the same. According to our research there’s little diff to odds”.

The nationwide betting company, which has over two and a half thousand retail outlets across Europe, has recently seen its profits and share prices drop dramatically, an issue which has been blamed on failings in its digital division. The success or failure of this site may be crucial to Ladbrokes’ financial security in the immediate future.

If the current two-month trial is successful the scheme may be expanded to take advantage of what appears to be a relatively untapped market. Ladbrokes is not the first or only bookmaker to offer odds on degree classifications but it is the first to attempt and encourage it on such a large scale.

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