Leicester City's Premier League success might be the talk of the sports world, but the Foxes’ win hasn't left everyone with a smile on their face. Despite being rank outsiders at the start of the season, Leicester City managed to defy the odds quite literally, leaving many of the UK's leading bookmakers with some major bets to settle.
At the start of the season, the industry line on City was 5,000/1 to win and very few punters or pundits gave them any shot of winning one of the toughest leagues in the world. In fact, the only people who really put their faith (and cash) in the boys in blue were Leicester's faithful supporters.
Seemingly unfazed by what the bookmakers believed, hundreds of fans gladly accepted odds of 5,000/1 and proceeded to stake anything from 15p to £40.
The combination of a relatively uneventful start to the season and a lack of major interest in Leicester City meant the nation's bookmakers didn't lose too much sleep in the early offing.
However, after the Christmas break came and went and Leicester were setting tongues wagging with their performance, the likes of William Hill Sports, Ladbrokes Sports and Coral Sports started to look tentatively at the top of the table.
In fact, with an improbable win looking ever more likely, the number crunchers started to reach for their calculators in a bid to predict the possible financial fallout if City did clinch the title.
As expected, the numbers didn't make for pleasant reading. Once Leicester managed a draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United on 1 May, the title was theirs and the bookies were left with a bill for more than £25 million.
Leigh Herbert is among those smiling at Leicester’s result. He’s now the lucky winner of £15,000 from a paltry £3 stake – a story that's reverberated around the football world in the past week.
Herbert, a William Hill Sports customer, decided to take a punt on Leicester with a spare £3 at the start of the season. By the time team lined up against Manchester United, he was already £12,997 in profit.
However, with two additional chances to win his bet outright if Leicester failed to win at Old Trafford, Herbert declined the cashout offer and finally broke into a smile after 90 minutes of action.
After the result was in and Leicester City were confirmed as the 2015/2016 Premier League champions, a delighted Herbert was able to withdraw his £15,000 prize and raise a glass to Claudio Ranieri's men.
Once the shock had blown over, the bookies were able to pick through the debris left behind by Leicester's win and what they found wasn't pretty. According to the stats, the £25 million won by Leicester supporters was the largest ever loss by British bookmakers on a single sporting event. William Hill Sports alone is expected to pay out over £3 million.
But, as you'd expect, the bookies aren't dwelling on the past. Many are already offering odds on Leicester City retaining the title during the 2016/2016 season. In fact, if you ante-up at Paddy Power Sports you can currently take tempting odds of 33/1.
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