How Political Betting Went Global During the Trump Era

The US Election is a huge betting market, lasting well over a year. With sports canceled amid the coronavirus, the 2020 Presidental Election may well be the biggest single betting event of the year.

To many Americans, November’s general election feels like one of the most critical moments in the history of the Republic. The idea of gambling on the result probably never crosses their minds and quite possibly disgusts them. 

That is because, for various historical reasons, betting on politics was banned and remains heavily restricted in the USA. It is growing fast, via sites such as PredictIt, but the main action still takes place in Europe.

To many European gamblers, Trump v Biden is on a par with Wilder v Fury. Entertainment. Just another event and opportunity to take a punt.

British bookies still lead the way

Britain is the home of political betting. The concept was practically invented here, soon after the creation of licensed betting shops in the 1950s.

Our bookmaking industry is the most sophisticated in the world, led by global players such as Betfair, Ladbrokes, and William Hill.

No sooner was Donald Trump elected in 2016 than bookies were offering odds on the 2020 race – both on the presidential race and party nominees.

However, political betting is not restricted to elections and leadership contests.

For over three years, British politics was totally consumed by Brexit, and bettors were playing every step of the process. – whether that be specific parliamentary votes, date of departure, or how it affected other political futures.

Politics can be traded like the stock market

Come the 20th century, with the advent of peer-to-peer betting exchanges, political betting became akin to trading the stock market.

One could make money from backing Trump early in 2016, then cashing out early for a profit – once he merely became favorite for the Republican nomination, for example. Or from short-selling a poor favorite such as Jeb Bush.

The main event turned out to be a classic, somewhat mirroring the vast stakes and extreme drama of the Brexit referendum that the UK had experienced several months earlier.

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