2016 has certainly been a year to remember. Britain voted to leave the EU, Donald Trump became president of the United States, we lost David Bowie and Prince in a flurry of celebrity deaths, Leicester City won the Premiership and Wales reached the semi-final of a major football tournament. If you'd told me all that was to come last January I'd have been in the bookies quicker than you could say Brexit.
In fact, a £10 bet on Trump, Brexit and Leicester would've returned a cool £30million. And it seems all this has had a knock-on effect in the world of mobile casinos, with the spirit of unpredictability fuelling growth in the market. Let's take a look at how the world of betting has been shaped my this year's major events.
This summer saw another lacklustre England performance at a major tournament, this time in France, but luckily the Welsh were on hand to do Great Britain proud, reaching the semi finals. Before the tournament Chris Coleman's men were 100/1 to lift the trophy, but that didn't stop them knocking out fourth favourites Belgium to reach the pinnacle of their sporting history. Rank outsiders San Marino are currently 10000/1 to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The team is made up of semi-pros including a baker and an accountant, but they'll be fancying their chances as much as anybody after Leicester and Wales' campaigns.
The decision for Britain to leave the EU has been cited as a huge gamble by experts, but one area which, ironically, is certain to be affected is the betting industry itself. The UK has a handful of overseas territories crucial to online gaming and casinos, Gibraltar being one. It's still too soon to cite exactly how the famous Rock, which is home to over 30 licensed gambling companies, may be affected by Brexit, but it's fair to say their economy relies far heavier on EU membership than that of the UK. Gambling brings thousands of jobs to the island, with many employees making the short commute across the border from Spain. With freedom of movement restricted this would be far more difficult, if possible at all.
Across the pond, the US election wasn't without its usual controversy. After outsider Donald Trump beat Hilary Clinton to the White House many across the world were shocked, but none as much as Paddy Power, who had already paid out over €100m on a Clinton victory. Some late FBI controversy was enough to swing the election in Trump's favour, leaving the Irish bookies with a very expensive political hangover.
If we've learnt anything from 2016 it's to expect the unexpected. The decisions and events have been unpredictable to say the least, and in gambling terms it's certainly made for an exciting few months. Let's see what next year brings. Alien invasion? That's 50/1.