Bookmaker pays out on Cameron for British PM

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An Irish bookmaker is paying out early on British opposition leader David Cameron becoming prime minister in knife-edge polls this week, it said Tuesday.

Paddy Power is confident Cameron's Conservative party will win the most seats in Thursday's legislative elections and have enough support to oust Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour party.

"Dave is heading for Downing Street and punters can come and collect their cash," said a spokesman for the firm, adding that the Conservatives are "home and dry."

The bookmaker cited Cameron's "strong" performance in the the last of three live pre-election TV debates last week, which had dramatically shortened the odds on the Tories winning the most seats.

"If money talks, then what we have seen in the last few days tells us the Conservatives are going to win the election," said the firm, adding it would be paying out more than 100,000 euros (130,000 dollars) to punters who had backed Cameron.

The latest opinion polls put the Conservatives in the lead, but most predict they will not win an absolute majority of at least 326 seats in the 650-member House of Commons, forcing them to seek others' support.

A YouGov/Sun newspaper daily poll Tuesday put the Conservatives on 35 percent support and the Liberal Democrats and Labour both on 28 percent.

The Irish bookmaker has a history of paying out early on high-profile bets, sometimes to its loss.

In 2003, it paid out early on Arsenal winning football's English Premier League, only to see the north London club pipped to the title by Manchester United.

© 2010 AFP

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