For weeks now, the UK ‘white Christmas' gamblers have been tuning in to weather predictions before placing their bets on whether there would be snowfalls on Christmas Day, but as it turned out it was the bookies who got it right this year, with some avoiding a potential million pound payout by doing so.
Bookmakers William Hill plc took a record number of bets on the possibility of snow on Christmas Day, following heavy snowfalls earlier in December, reports The Daily Telegraph. However, although it was a chilly day, there was no snow.
Rupert Adams, spokesman for the company, told the Telegraph that it was a relief for the bookmakers – although it may be a disappointment for gamblers.
"Much like the abominable snowman, Britain's favourite festive flutter is in danger of becoming extinct as snowfall becomes increasingly rare in December," said Adams. "But we are not sorry to see no snow as it would have cost us a monster million pound-plus payout."
Christmas Day was cloudy and cold but dry, with a brisk wind blowing in from the east, the newspaper reported, adding that the London Met Office is forecasting that the weather will get colder over the next few days as the cloud lifts, and there will be overnight frosts across the country. Temperatures will be around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) although it will be warmer in the cities.
William Hill says to qualify as a white Christmas one flake of snow has to fall in one of 14 different areas designated in the bet. For example a bet on a white Christmas in London would only pay out if one flake of snow falls on Buckingham Palace.