Betting hots up on Britain's royal baby24 april 2015, 17:55
Punters are placing all manner of wacky bets on Britain's royal baby, chancing their cash on everything from the name of the new prince or princess to who gets their congratulations tweet in first, AFP reports.
With the baby due any day now, bookmakers are taking wagers on whether Prince William or his wife Kate will carry it out of the hospital, and whether their first-born, toddler Prince George, will join them on the maternity ward steps.
Bets are on too for the baby's weight, godparents and hair -- and even the time it will be born.
Punters think the baby will be a girl, with Alice the clear favourite for the name -- though bookmakers have been taking a late flurry of bets on James.
Bet365 has a baby girl at 1/2 -- a two in three chance of occurring, meaning a £2 bet would win £1 plus the £2 stake back if the prediction proves right. A boy is 6/4.
"The money has just been relentless for a girl -- nearly 90 percent of all bets," Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge told AFP.
Bookmakers William Hill have Alice at 6/4, followed by Elizabeth and Charlotte as the next most likely names at 11/2. Then comes Victoria at 12/1, Alexandra and James at 14/1 and Diana, the name of William's late mother, at 16/1.
Long odds on Prince Elvis
The rush of bets on James, pushing down the odds, could be punters learning their lesson from backing a girl's name -- Alexandra -- when George was born in July 2013.
"I think people are just covering their bases," said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.
The surge to back Alice has eclipsed some boys' names steeped in royal history.
"Our punters are convinced it's going to be a girl. In a two-horse race, that feels a bit crazy," Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott told AFP.
"That means there's some very attractive prices for good royal boys' names: James and Arthur at 20/1, Henry and Philip at 33/1 is incredible value.
"Alice has come out of nowhere, from 33/1 to a ludicrous 6/4, which I wouldn't touch with a bargepole."
"Elizabeth would a nice nod to the boss," he added, referring to William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
However, the flood of bets on traditional royal girls' names is not stopping some from taking a long-range punt.
"Elvis is the one that always tickles me, people betting on a Prince Elvis -- very unlikely," said Bridge.
"Prince Wayne, Princess Chardonnay both at 500/1 -- I think you're best keeping your money on those."
Princesses favourites for godparents
As for the baby's weight, between seven and eight pounds (3.2 to 3.6 kilogrammes) is the favourite at around 6/4.
For hair colour, bookmakers have brown trading at around 6/4, slightly ahead of blond at 7/4, with black and the red locks of William's brother Prince Harry at around 5/1. Grey is available as a 50/1 long shot.
With a general election also due, Ladbrokes make Prime Minister David Cameron 5/2 favourite to be the first party leader to tweet their congratulations.
Cameron is a 100/1 rank outsider to be among the godparents, where William's cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are both 1/5 near-certainties with William Hill.
Harry is 2/1 along with Kate's sister Pippa Middleton. Football icon David Beckham is 25/1.
Paddy Power have Virgin tycoon Richard Branson at 50/1 and rocker Elton John at 100/1.
Back in 2013, Kate emerged from the hospital holding the newborn George, and she is 1/3 favourite to do so again, with William 9/4.
Paddy Power give odds of 1/4 that one-year-old George will join them for the first photo that will flash round the world.
However, bookmakers cannot agree on the colour of Kate's dress for the occasion. Labrokes favour pink at 4/1, Paddy Power yellow at 7/2 and Coral blue at 3/1.
"Royal betting is fun because no-one really knows, no-one really has an edge -- unless you're called Harry and you're a little bit ginger," Scott said.
He added: "Someone phoned us up and said 'I'm giving birth around about the same time'; she wanted a price on their baby to marry the second royal baby. The price was exceedingly long."