To no one’s surprise, this election is breaking records for turnout, mail-in ballots, the overall political divide and – wagering? Bookmakers are reporting unrivaled interest in the 2020 presidential election, with bets projected to approach $1 billion by Tuesday night.
Betfair, a major online gaming company, said more than $260 million has been bet on the two candidates. “This is a huge market,” Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at British sports betting and gambling firm GVC, told the AFP news agency in a Fox Business story. “It is twice as big as 2016, easily making it the biggest political event ever.”
While there are now at least 30 states offering legalized gambling of some kind, betting on an election in the U.S. is illegal. The past several months have seen the market shift dramatically. Or, as gambleonline.com wrote:
“What a difference a pandemic makes. … (In) mid-to-late February, less than two weeks before the height of the pandemic, President Trump’s re-election odds were around –180 … Biden’s presidential election odds have gone from nearly 20-to-1 to being the favorite to win for the better part of the past 5 months.”
Current odds among the bigger gaming sites such as MyBookie, Bovada and BetOnline have Biden holding the favorite’s position at anywhere from –160 to –180, while Trump was at +140 to +160.
The –180 odds on Biden mean that if you bet $180 on Biden winning, you win $100 if he wins the election. The +160 odds on Trump mean that if you bet $100 on Trump winning, you win $160 if he wins the election.
Although Biden is favored, gamblers may view Trump as the better value wager. Betfair reported Trump has about 6,700 bets and more than $4.83 million, and Biden has about 5,250 bets and $4.7 million.