ECONOMY

UK bookmaker suspends betting on Greece dropping euro this year

William Hill Plc, the biggest U.K. bookmaker, suspended betting on Greece leaving the euro region this year as a standoff continues between the country’s creditors and government.

Odds on a Greek exit narrowed to 3-to-1, meaning a 1 pound bet wins 3 pounds, from 5-to-1, Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for the London-based bookmaker, said in an e-mailed statement. William Hill may reopen the market depending on what happens between Greece and its creditors next week, Sharpe said.

“No one is interested in backing Greece to stay in the Eurozone until the end of the year,” said Sharpe. “We decided to pull the plug on the markets until either the decision to leave is taken, or the crisis point passes and a plan is put in place enabling the country to remain in.”

While the Greek government is seeking an easing of austerity measures imposed after an international bailout, the country’s creditors say it needs to commit to economic reforms. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York on Wednesday, said that another debt restructuring wasn’t up for discussion now, and that Greek demands for war reparations from Germany were “completely unrealistic.”

Greek bonds fell on Thursday in London after Standard & Poor’s cut the country’s rating to CCC+ from B-, citing the country’s deteriorating outlook.

Sharpe declined to comment on how much gamblers had wagered on a Greek exit from the euro region. William Hill had received a “five-figure sum” in total bets on which country will be the first to leave the euro region and on Greece leaving this year, he said.

‘‘It is now looking increasingly likely that they could begin the process of departing very shortly,’’ said Sharpe.

[Bloomberg]