Bookies Rake In The Cash As Bets On U.S. Presidential Election Surges To New Record

The 2016 presidential contest has been one of many "firsts":  the first to include a nominee of a major political party under an active FBI criminal investigation, the first in which nude pictures of a candidate's wife hit the internet for all to see, etc.  Now, with less than 24 hours left until voting gets underway, according to Reuters the 2016 contest is poised to break yet another record as the "most wagered-upon political event" in history.

With many opinion polls showing a tight race just one day before Tuesday's election, record numbers of bettors are pouring millions into online platforms from Ireland to Iowa in the hope of capturing a financial windfall from a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.

 

UK-based internet betting exchange Betfair said on Sunday its "Next President" market was set to become the most traded it had ever seen and expected to surpass even Brexit, the contentious UK referendum to leave the European Union.

 

By Sunday, roughly $130 million had been traded on who will become the next U.S. president, compared with $159 million on the Brexit referendum, Betfair spokeswoman Naomi Totten said. The amount bet so far on the 2016 contest dwarfs the roughly $50 million laid on the 2012 race.

On sites like Paddy Power, gamblers can bet on anything from the most likely winner of the 2016 presidential race...

Paddy Power

 

...to voter turnout levels...

Paddy Power

 

...to the potential for the popular vote winner to lose the electoral college.

Paddy Power

 

In fact, a London-based bookie balled Betfair, said they're making 70 markets on their site related to the U.S. election with $140 million put into play on markets ranging from who will win the popular vote to how many states each party will carry.  As of this morning the odds of a Clinton victory stand at 83% after shooting up a few percentage points on Sunday after the FBI stood by its earlier recommendation that no criminal charges were warranted in her use of a private email server.

Presidential Voting

And PredictIt has seen Hillary's odds rebound to pre-Comey levels...

 

Meanwhile, the three other major online trading sites also show a high probability of a Clinton victory. 

Iowa Electronic Markets:

Clinton - 71 percent

Trump - 28 percent

 

Ladbrokes:

Clinton - 83 percent

Trump - 22 percent

 

Paddy Power:

Clinton - 83 percent

Trump - 18 percent

While Hillary is the overall favorite, Trump is extremely popular among gamblers who made out with large profits betting on Brexit with two-thirds of those customers also placing bets on Trump.  That said, the overall money allocated to the election implies an easy victory for Hillary.

Betfair said on Friday that Trump was emerging as the clear favorite among one group of players in particular - Brexit backers. Two-thirds of its customers who had supported a Brexit outcome were also backing Trump on Betfair.

 

Paul Krishnamurty, a professional gambler for 15 years who works as an analyst at Betfair and a columnist at Politico, is not one of them. He told Reuters he stood to lose $28,000 if Trump wins on Tuesday.

 

Krishnamurty, who said he had earned roughly half a million dollars during his betting career, has laid money on several election-related markets this year. He took a winning position on Trump's selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate and bet against Jeb Bush during the Republican nominating contests.

 

He said he believed Clinton would likely to win both North Carolina and Florida and that a Trump victory was unlikely.

 

"I personally believe she will win in a landslide," Krishnamurty said.

Oddly, we didn't see any markets on the odds of Hillary being impeached within the first year of her presidency a result of the FBI's criminal investigation of her private email server and/or pay-to-play activities at the Clinton Foundation.