By Karrie Gillett
BOOKMAKERS were snowed under this year by punters gambling on a white Christmas.
A surge of bets on snow falling on Christmas Day saw odds slashed to 2-1 with one bookie even paying out ten days before the big day.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power decided to cough up more than £100,000 to punters backing a Christmas snowfall after the record low temperatures in December.
But on December 25 not a solitary flake of snow appeared in Scotland.
Spokesman Ken Robertson said there had been 4,950 wagers placed on a white Christmas in cities across the UK and Ireland – the highest number ever.
He said: “With unseasonably low temperatures throughout December, Paddy Power were forced to slash the odds on snow to fall on Christmas Day from 6/1 to 4/1 earlier in this month and then again to 2/1.
“We’ve been paying out from December 14 regardless of whether it snows or not.
“We may be left with slush on our face if the snow doesn’t arrive but we’re happy to take our chances.”
And one lucky Scottish punter placed a £75 bet on Christmas snow back in November – when the odds were still at 5-2.
The Glasgow man will now collect a £300 fortune even though the country goes without one snowflake.
Bookmaker William Hill slashed their odds of snowfall in Scotland down to 2-1 – and if it had snowed they could have been forced to pay out more than £1 million.
Rupert Adams, spokesman for William Hill, described how the Met Office needed to confirm that a single flake of snow fell on Edinburgh Castle at any point on December 25.
He said: “Betting on a white Christmas has really captured the imagination of the public this year.
“This has been our busiest ever Christmas run and there is a lot of money in the book.
“We’ve taken bets in about 15 cities across the UK and there’s a chance we could pay out about £1 million if all bets come in.”
And in Scotland, Mr Adams revealed the biggest gamble was placed in snow-prone Aberdeen – with one cocky punter placing a £3,000-bet on snow.