Betting Companies Suddenly Betting Swedish Pirate Party Gets Re-Elected

More or less overnight, betting companies slashed their odds of the Swedish Pirate Party’s re-election to the European Parliament. Where a re-election scenario used to give you 8x your money back in a bet with them, it now gives a mere 1.25x. It appears the betting companies know something that Swedish oldmedia haven’t picked up on yet.

Late yesterday, the betting company Unibet slashed the odds of the Swedish Pirate Party getting re-elected to a mere 1.25x. This is lower than several of the more-established parties. Other betting companies followed suit, and no betting company is currently offering higher odds. This flies in the face of a press release a month ago, when the odds were at 8x, and Unibet issued a press release stating that the Pirate Party wouldn’t make it back in, giving negligible odds (1.05x) for the lose-all-seats scenario.

The Swedish Pirate Party holds two seats in the European Parliament today, with MEPs Engström and Andersdotter, and those seats are up for re-election this month and need to be defended. The Pirate Party’s MEPs have been successful in everything from defending net neutrality to being instrumental in torpedoing ACTA and outlawing “three strikes” schemes.

Therefore, re-election has remained crucial, both to continue this work of net liberty and civil rights, as well as for the overall narrative – that their initial election wasn’t a stroke of luck or a freak random occurrence, but a sign of fundamentally changing values in society toward caring for civil rights online and the sharing economy.

In general, there are two reliable predictors of election results. One is the ordinary run-of-the-mill polls, which there haven’t really been any in Sweden for the European Elections (which is a problem in itself); all the polls concern the local government, which is little more than a budget council when you’re a member state of the EU. Apart from the polling, there’s the betting companies, which tend to be notoriously precise as the election approaches – and the urns open on May 7, six days from now. Yesterday, they all slashed their odds for the Pirate Party’s re-election as one.

Therefore, there’s something the betting companies know that hasn’t come to the attention of the mainstream oldmedia yet. And to be honest, I don’t know what it is. It could be a leak from an ongoing poll before the results are presented. It could be a poll of their own. It could be patterns of betting that only they are privy to, and know through decades of betting management what it translates to. But in either case, this is a really strong indicator.

This has happened once before, on April 29, 2009. On that day, the first poll in Sweden ahead of the 2009 European Elections was published, and that poll predicted a sensation – that the Pirate Party was about to get elected, with 5.1% of the vote in that poll. That also happened, with 7.13% of the final vote on June 7, 2009. On that day, the betting companies slashed their odds from 6x your money back in an election success scenario to 1.2x your money back – essentially the same odds as in this dramatic slashing of the odds from 8x to 1.25x.

What information, exactly, is it that the betting companies have acquired that cause them all to bet on a re-election?

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. pirate

    They read this:
    And realised they themselves were going to vote pirate.

  2. KLas

    I don’t get it, maybe because I don’t bet and never visited the site before. But as I read it, the odds are for more than 0.5 seats, and I guess thats equal to 0 seats in the end?

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      This confused me too at first. You’re betting on the “above 0.5 seats” scenario or the “below 0.5 seats” scenario – that is, getting re-elected (1, 2, 3… seats) or not getting elected (0 seats). Since there aren’t fractional seats, “above/below 0.5” translates to “re-elected or not”.


      1. Idee

        When you look at:
        You see the seats of other swedish parties…togehter 20 in EU-Parliament:
        Social-Democrats 6,5
        Moderate Rally 4,5
        Environmental Party the Greens 2,5
        People’s Party Liberals 2,5
        Left Party 1,5
        Centre Party 0,5
        Christdemokraten 0,5
        Feminist Initiative 0,5
        June List 0,5
        Pirate Party 0,5
        Sweden Democrats 0,5

  3. […] Betting Companies Suddenly Betting Swedish Pirate Party Gets Re-Elected […]

  4. Caleb Lanik

    The practice of gambling on elections has always seemed odd to me. Still, an early congratulations to you Rick, and to all pirates everywhere.

  5. Don Kongo

    Hey, how do I find the odds? I only find the Swedish parliament election on Unibet (granted, I do not gamble so I may be missing something).

    1. Don Kongo

      Found a link at HAX:

      Also a bout of nostalgia at the “wap” part in the URL 😀

  6. Idee

    Perhaps, one re-elected/new member of the unibet board is in favor for Pirates.,c9567881
    “At the AGM on 20 May 2014, Unibet Group plc’s Nomination Committee proposes re-election of the following Directors: Kristofer Arwin, Peter Boggs, Nigel Cooper, Stefan Lundborg, Anders Ström

    The Nomination Committee also proposes election of two new Directors, Sophia Bendz and Peter Friis. ”
    => If they do a bet on us it is kind of selffullfilling prophesy. And with 0,5 seats it is just kind a 1:1 chance.

    1. Idee

      Maybe it’s sth to do with the lottery
      Perhaps they want to know the real names of swedish pirates supporters.

  7. Anonymous

    hopefully, they have done a poll of their own and have realised that the younger generation are at the point when they can determine more what is going to happen politically during their life time. the ‘old guard’ have tyo wake up and stop this quivering with fear as soon as the USA opens it’s mouth, or you find you’re on the dreaded ‘301’ list, which only those countries who shit backwards at the mention of the list, the USA and the sanctions that will be imposed!
    they dont seem to have realised yet that regardless of the bravado it shows, the USA has caused so much crap for almost everywhere in the world, that more and more countries are standing up to it. look at what Obama has been doing, he’s trying to promote yet another ‘trade agreement’ that will empower the USA over any and all countries that are stupid enough to fall for the threats and dont be under any illusion, there have been some. it is now saying it has joined an agreement with japan and it will help in any dispute over the islands that are in dispute with China. you can bet your ass that it’s going to be beneficial to the USA to do this or it wouldn’t be happening! like all ‘trade agreements’ they are instigated by the USA, are for the benefit of the USA, both governmental and business wise and the stupid idiots that go along end up being well and truly screwed for their trouble!! and remember that every single one of these agreements are done in secret and include rules that are beneficial to Hollywood and the entertainment industries, allowing them to stay as they are intentionally so as to be able to sue people using the baited trap of giving customers the middle finger!! if it weren’t being done on purpose, the industries would do what they know they need to do to please customers. instead they do nothing and are helped by the government. damned ridiculous!!

  8. Piratpartiet kommer göra ett bra EU-val | Calandrellas blogg

    […] som satsade på att Piratpartiet skulle klara sig kvar i EU-parlamentet 6 gånger pengarna. Igår ändrades plötsligt oddsen – till 1,25 gånger pengarna. De företag vars affärsidé går ut på att förutspå […]

  9. Anders S Lindbäck

    Its all about the money. The betting company will change the odds to favour them.

    So when many people put money on the Pirateparty they will of course lower the odds of getting re-elected. So its not an opinion poll its not some favouritism – it’s all about what normal people bet on and think will happen.

  10. gurrfield

    The picture you use is from previous, election right..? Why not use the new updatedlist …?

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      I just didn’t have stacks of those to photo here at where I’m writing. You’re right, it’s the list from 2009 (but the top two names are the same… except they’re five years older.)

  11. Chloe

    Oh Mr. Falkvinge – I became a fan out of my own personal greed when you said BTC would reach a mil a piece. Please don’t go green on me now.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      I am not going green. There was a column posted by an occasional contributor, Travis McCrea, the other day about his decision to change his support to the Greens. That stands for him and him alone; I remain pirate as do my other thousands of colleagues.

      (We have good cooperation with the greens in the Europarl, though, but that’s on a cooperation-as-equals basis.)

      Also, I still think the endgame for bitcoin is in that range. It’s the moon or the ground. No option in between.


      1. Chloe

        Oh baie baie dankie meneer! I’m South African and strongs for you!

  12. […] Piratpartiet ställer upp i EU-valet den 7-25 maj, och vi har bra odds att bli omvalda. […]

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