Prime Minister Theresa May was asked on the BBC’s One Show if the UK would be leaving the Eurovision Song Contest alongside leaving the European Union?  It was, of course, a joke and Mrs May said no but doubted we would do very well this year because the UK was not very popular in Europe at the moment.


Following Mrs May’s comments I felt compelled to endure the four hour Eurovision Song Contest but bet in running to keep interest up and sanity intact.

The Prime Minister’s implication was that politics has sway on the Eurovision voting pattern.  Over the years there is always “geo-political voting” –   for example, Cyprus votes for Greece, and vice versa, regardless of their songs’ musical merits. Norway and Sweden normally help each other out, as do the Balkan states.

The useful introduction of Australia (!) to Eurovision has been a benefit to the UK and happily received twelve points from Australia in 2017.

What added to my interest were the comments I had received about “Brexit” at various gambling conferences and on a recent holiday in Spain. It seems the main area of concern amongst Europeans is the amount their respective countries will have to pay to keep the EU going when the UK leaves.  I wondered whether sentiment was moving against the UK and whether this would affect UK gambling companies and the Eurovision vote. 

Let’s talk about the betting first.

Daniel Gould is the co-editor of sofabet.com, a website which analyses betting on TV talent shows. His predictions for Eurovision were:
1. Portugal
2. Italy 
3. Bulgaria 

The actual Eurovision 2017 results were:
1. Portugal 
2. Bulgaria
3. Moldova

The UK was quoted prior to the start at 40/1 to win but only 10/1 to finish last!  Italy was favourite at 6/5. 

After Lucie Jones from the UK gave a better than expected performance Betfair were offering 71 on the exchange.  Portugal had moved to be favourite at 2.76, Bulgaria 3.6 and Italy had drifted to 7.


Sweden then produced a solid performance and the price was cut from 32 to 24 which caused Portugal to go out to 2.9, and that was the perfect time to bet Portugal.

I had a few pounds on Moldova at 81 and they finished third. 

The UK was doing quite well on the votes registered by the panel of expert, they were in the first section – no chance of winning but no disgrace.  


Then came the votes from the audience and the UK slipped to 15th place.  Were the audience voting on Brexit concerns? I don’t think so because Moldova did not score well on the panel votes, but did very well amongst the wider audience.

My conclusion is that the UK song was not strong enough to win and, simply, the best song won. But if you do wish to endure four hours of Eurovision, do have a bet, it makes the whole thing worth watching.

Warwick Bartlett