Brexit camp launches £50m competition doubling as poll

27th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Campaigners for a "Leave" vote in Britain's EU referendum launched an online competition and poll Friday offering £50 million for anyone who correctly predicts the outcome of every Euro 2016 fixture.

Participants must be registered voters and have to indicate how they are planning to vote on June 23, prompting one commentator to call it "the most audacious data gathering exercise in British political history".

The Vote Leave campaign said it had chosen the prize amount for the European football championships because it was equivalent to the sum that Britain contributes to the European Union budget every day.

This is based on their assertion that Britain pays £350 million (459 million euros, $513 million) a week.

Including Britain's budget rebate, analysts have calculated the actual amount is in fact £280 million, or £40 million daily.

Once participants have submitted their predictions online they are asked whether they plan to vote "Leave" or "Remain" or are still undecided.

They are also asked how enthusiastic they are about the upcoming referendum on a scale of one to 10.

"We want everyone to have the chance to win the sort of money most people can only dream of, unless they are a banker or a Euro MP," Vote Leave's campaign director Dominic Cummings said in a statement.

Cummings said the pro-Brexit camp were the "big underdogs" in the campaign and had been forced to "innovate" with the contest.

He said it was "an attempt to engage with large numbers of people who normally ignore politics".

The Spectator magazine's political editor James Forsyth said the real reason behind the competition was to collect data to boost the campaign.

"This information should help improve both Vote Leave's ground operation and, crucially, its social media targeting strategy," he wrote in a blog.

"It is certainly the most audacious data gathering exercise in British political history," he said.

Participants have to predict only the outcome of the matches -- win, draw or lose -- not the score.

The contest closes on June 9 -- a day before the start of the Euro 2016 tournament, which will take place in France.

Vote Leave said it had taken out insurance in case anyone correctly predicted all 51 games and would in any case pay £50,000 to the participant who accurately predicts the most consecutive games.

The competition resembles US business tycoon Warren Buffett's offer in 2014 of a $1 billion prize for picking the winner of every game in the men's college basketball tournament known as "March Madness".

The odds of that happening were predicted at nine quintillion to one -- a nine followed by 18 zeros.

© 2016 AFP

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