English soccer fans won’t soon be forgetting Leicester City’s historic victory in the English Premier League title Monday. Neither will London’s bookmakers, who are doling out a record $11 million to bettors who took their chances on the fairy-tale underdogs at the start of the season.
At that point, a bet on the lowly Midlands team winning the league championship carried 5,000-1 odds against. For dozens of lucky fans, those were odds worth taking. Bookmaker William Hill announced Tuesday that it would be paying out 3 million pounds ($4.4 million) on Leicester’s win, with 25 bets placed at the highest odds. Ladbrokes said it accepted 47 bets early in the season.
The highest William Hill payout was to a Manchester fan who placed a 20-pound ($29) wager on Leicester prevailing back when the odds were astronomical, earning winnings of $145,000.
The event set multiple records in the British betting business. At 5,000-1, Leicester’s victory had the longest odds ever to pay off for a single event, according to bookmaker Ladbrokes. Total industry payouts, tabulated by ESPN to be $11.4 million, are the most ever for an English Premier League title.
“In 82 years of operating, William Hill has never before seen a price as big as 5,000-1 win, and I would be tempted to wager that it may be another 82 years until we see it again,” said William Hill spokesman Jo Crilly. “Put into perspective, the likelihood of Leicester bagging the Premier League title at the start of the season was the same price as Elvis Presley being proved as still being alive.”
Right now, you can place a wager with Paddy Power for 500-1 against that the Loch Ness Monster will be discovered.