Bookmakers have accepted millions of pounds in bets on the results of the referendum, with the 'No' vote attracting the most bets, reflecting the popular belief and hope that in the end, the photo-finish vote will go against independence for Scotland.
As opinion polls continued to predict a close finish, the 'No' bets accounted for around £4.5 million of the £6 million matched on the betting exchange Betfair so far. People have also placed bets on the percentage of votes each option will attract and the overall voting percentage.
Experts at the bookmaker Ladbrokes estimate that as much as £50 million could be wagered on the race if the polls remain tight in the coming days. Official figures indicate that 97% of Scotland’s 4.4 million population have registered to vote in the referendum.
A new opinion poll by Survation released on Saturday suggested that the ‘No’ vote enjoyed 54% support, against 46% for the ‘Yes’ vote. It reflects marginal increase in the support for the ‘No’ vote, but experts caution that such polls are invariably based on a fraction of the population.
In a significant intervention, members of the Orange Order and bandsmen from Northern Ireland joined a rally supporting the ‘No’ vote in Edinburgh. Orange Order has traditionally supported union with the United Kingdom.
The order’s Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: "Our strength in numbers here today - in one of the largest Orange gatherings in recent times held in the UK - not only demonstrates our commitment to the cause, but also our grave concern at the imminent threat to the Union we all hold so dear."
Claims and counter-claims continued to be made on the effect on banks and business in the event of Scotland voting for independence. The ‘Yes’ group accused the rival ‘No’ group of engineering scare stories from business and bank leaders.
First minister Alex Salmond said the Scots would not be "bullied" by oil companies, supermarkets or London, while chief economist at Deutsche Bank David Folkerts-Landau said voters and politicians had failed to grasp the negative consequences of independence.