Will he or won’t he? As of Thursday morning, Malcolm Turnbull had yet to inform the producers at the ABC’s Q&A whether he would be abiding with the boycott of the program that forced Barnaby Joyce to pull out on Sunday night. And as the days to his scheduled appearance pass on Monday, the odds are against him showing up.

Online betting firm William Hill was on Monday betting he would, offering punters odds of $1.72 if they successfully predicted Turnbull would show up, but $2.03 for successful bets on him being a no-show. The odds have since dramatically reversed, with odds of $1.72 offered on a successful no-show bet and $2.05 for him turning up.

A William Hill spokesman told Crikey the odds on a Turnbull showing lengthened considerably after multiple large bets were placed on him adhering to the Q&A boycott. One punter put down $500 at $2.05 on a no-show, and yesterday, 75% of  bets placed were on the no-show side of the ledger.

“Betting on entertainment and politics is definitely on the rise in Australia, but when it comes to these type of markets it’s more the bet amounts and not so much the number of bets that creates the interest and eventual market shifts,” the spokesman noted. So given the market is shallow, a few big bets dropped can have a big effect.

Sportsbet has also opened up a market on the minister’s potential appearance. On Tuesday, it was far more skewed towards a no-show by Turnbull, but in the days since the market has narrowed significantly, with most punters more than happy to take up Sportsbet at those odds, suggesting it was a little too bullish on the chances of Turnbull obeying the party line. The price of Turnbull appearing has reduced from $3 to $2.75, while the odds of a non-appearance have drifted from $1.33 to $1.40.

“The punters definitely disagree with our odds on this one and seem sure Turnbull will risk the wrath of Abbott by making an appearance,” said sportsbet.com.au’s Will Byrne. — Myriam Robin

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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