LONDON (Reuters) - France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen is now second-favorite to win power in next year's presidential election, just behind conservative Alain Juppe, British bookmaker William Hill said.
Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron launched his bid for the presidency on Wednesday, a move likely to take votes from mainstream candidates in a tight race that promises a strong turnout for Le Pen.
William Hill offered odds of 6/4, equivalent to an implied probability of 40 percent that Le Pen will become the next ruler of France. Juppe had even odds.
Odds express the ratio of the amounts staked by parties to a bet, based on the expected probability either way.
Bookmakers got a host of major political events wrong in recent years, including the U.S. presidential election, the Brexit vote, the British Labour Party leadership election and the 2015 British election.
"Having been hammered by political punters backing Jeremy Corbyn at 200/1 to be Labour leader, Donald Trump at 150/1 to be US President, Brexit and a Tory General Election victory both at 6/1, we're taking no chances this time round," William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said.
The bookmaker was "making sure we keep Marine Le Pen's as short as possible," he said.
Hills offered 5/1, or a 17 percent implied probability, for ex-premier Francois Fillon; 8/1, or 11 percent probability, for Nicolas Sarkozy; 16/1, or 6 percent probability, for Macron; 28/1, or 3 percent probability, for Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
French President Francois Hollande was given odds of 33/1, an implied probability of 3 percent.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)