By Sandamali Zbyszewski
No-one could have predicted that televised prime ministerial debates would have affected the fate of political parties so significantly when the idea was first pitched to politicians and broadcasters.
Yet, the political apathy that had plagued the country in pervious decades, driving the turnout to only 61.3% in the last general election, seems to have finally been overcome.
Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power has said that the bookies are anticipating over £25million being gambled on the Election across the UK with the success of the TV debates forcing the bookie to revise the figure from a £20million forecast prior to the campaign. In contrast, the 2005 Election saw just about £10million being gambled on the result.
Paddy power will be keeping punters entertained through election night by offering a wide range of market including whether there will be a high voting turnout, which constituency will declare first in the race, who will admit defeat first and whether Labour will trail behind in third place.
Odds on whether the Liberal Democrats will beat Labour are currently at 6/5 with 8/13 for them remaining in third place.
As for who will raise the white flag of defeat first, Lord Mandelson has been put forward at 13/8.
The TV debates appear to have really caught the public's imagination and bookies are expecting a significant increase in the turnout compared to previous general election. An increase to 65-70% is the 6/4 favourite with more than 70% also popular at 13/8.
The bookies are even taking bets on when Gordon Brown will officially concede defeat. The favourite is currently midnight with odds at 20/1.