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Copyright 2002 Nationwide News Pty Limited  
The Australian

November 29, 2002, Friday


LENGTH: 266 words

HEADLINE: No money labouring at Liberal odds - VICTORIA DECIDES


BYLINE: Jim Buckell

JUDGING by the odds on offer, Labor is a lay-down misere in tomorrow's Victorian election.

Alice Springs-based betting agency Centrebet has a returned Labor Government at a price shorter than a marine's haircut -- just $1.02 return for every $1 wagered. It has Labor ahead in nine out of the 10 marginal lower house seats on which it will take bets.

Even in Jeff Kennett's former seat of Burwood in Melbourne's eastern suburbs -- snatched by Labor in a by-election -- Labor is at $1.15 to the Liberals at $4. These odds reflect polls that point to a landslide in which Labor could pick up seats it has never before held.

Centrebet has Robert Doyle's Liberals on $10 for every $1 wagered, but there's very little money around for them even at this generous price.

Centrebet spokesman Gerard Daffy said less than $200 had been placed on the Liberals in the past two weeks. The turning point came when its treasury spokesman, Robert Dean, was forced to resign after failing to re-enrol at his new address.

By contrast, tickets are still being written for Labor. The largest is a bet of $17,000 from a man who will win just $500 on top of his stake if Steve Bracks retains the premiership. The agency had taken more than $100,000 in the election overall.

Pundits could do worse than watch Centrebet: in the last federal election 43 of 47 candidates it had as favourites won.

US academic Justin Wolfers found Centrebet odds provided a more accurate tool for predicting results at the 2001 polls than economic modelling or opinion polls.

LOAD-DATE: November 28, 2002

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