Betfair, Ladbrokes, and Paddy Power Report Record Levels of Betting on the US Presidential Election

International sports bettors report record levels of betting on the U.S. presidential election, which takes place on Tuesday, November 8. Online and land-based sportsbooks report a spike in gambling on POTUS proposition bets.

The online sports betting exchange, Betfair, claimed that the “Next President” bet on its site had the most-ever wagering action. That total surpasses the Brexit vote, which broke the previous record earlier this year.

$140 Million Placed on POTUS Markets

Roughly $140 million has been placed on betting markets for the president of the US, ranging from the “Next President” market to the winner of the popular vote to the number of states won by each candidate.

The UK sportsbooks in particular claim records for a proposition bet, saying that gamblers’ recent memory of the Brexit vote seems to be sustaining wager levels.

In the Brexit vote, the “Leave” vote was supposed to be 3% lower than the “Remain” vote, but the eventually results were 52% for “Leave” and 48% for “Remain”.

Comparisons to Brexit Betting

Naomi Totten, a spokesperson for Betfair, noted the Brexit effect on the betting: “We think it is because (of) how raw the Brexit (vote) is in people’s minds — they’re not convinced yet that it’s a done deal.

Ladbrokes, the oldest UK-based sportsbook, said it had received over $6 million in bets over the 4 years it has had 2016 US presidential election bets available. Ladbrokes said that action represents “at least twice” the amount wagered on any previous American presidential election.

Donald Trump: American Wild Card

Despite the action, most experts have real estate developer Donald Trump as a longshot to win the election for U.S. President. One Republican strategist compared Trump’s chances to hitting an inside straight in poker; he has a chance, but many things have to go in his favor on Tuesday.

The Irish traditional sportsbook, Paddy Power, is reporting record levels of wagering, as well. Paddy Power spokesman Feilim Mac An Iomaire said that the election “is definitely on course to be the biggest political event“, despite politics being a “niche” compared to bets on sporting events.

Mac An Iomaire claims name recognition has a lot to do with the turnover. Donald Trump is a global celebrity, while Hillary Clinton has been in the international spotlight for 25 years. The Paddy Power spokesman said Trump’s notability in particular is driving the action.

Mac An Iomaire said, “Trump is such a huge celebrity.

Donald Trump: Consummate Winner or Historical Loser?

That celebrity might be sustaining the belief that Trump is going to pull off a huge upset. Donald Trump’s image is one of a “winner”, so many think Trump is not going to lose an election. He dispatched 16 establishment politicians in the Republican Party’s primaries, while Hillary Clinton is the least-liked Democrat Party candidate in its history.

This is seen as an anti-establishment year in global politics. The Brexit vote is only one instance of voters ignoring the advice of experts and veteran politicians. In the Philippines, controversial Davao City mayor Rodrido Duterte was elected overwhelmingly, despite running anti-drug “death squads” in his city for decades. Right wing politician Norbert Hofer came within half of a percentage point of winning the presidency of Austria.

The Complications of the US Electoral College

The Brexit vote was an either/or proposition. The U.S. presidential election is much more complicated, because of the electoral college. Instead of a direct vote deciding the presidency, each U.S. state (and Washington DC) receive a number of electors equivalent to their congressional delegations. That means each state receives 2 votes for their senate seats, plus however many votes they have in the House of Representatives. States like California with large populations therefore have dozens of electoral votes, while states like Montana only receive 1 additional vote.

Because the American population is grouped heavily on the east and west coasts, the city-dominated coasts tend to be “blue states”, meaning they vote Democrat. The flyover states in-between the coasts are often “red states”, meaning the vote Republican. Though Republicans control more states, the Democrats tend to dominate the elector-rich states, which makes it hard for Republicans to win national elections for president these days.

There are exceptions. For instance, the American deep south is solidly Republican, except a few states on the east coast: Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. Those states are considered battlegrounds, because the voting demographics are more even. The same can be said of the American midwest or Rust Belt states, which tend to have rural populations more evenly split with the big midwestern cities. Thus, states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are battleground states.

How Trumpism Has Changed the Electoral Map

Donald Trump has mixed-up the normal electoral math. The 2016 campaign has more Undedided voters, because Trump’s anti-free trade stance appeals to workers who traditional vote for the left, while his racially-charged rhetoric and chauvinistic comments have offended suburban women and moderate Republicans who might otherwise be solidly for the GOP.

Trump’s stance against Mexican immigrants seems to have energized the Hispanic and Latino votes, which has shifted the calculations in states like Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, and even Texas.

All told, the numbers suggest that Hillary Clinton has a solid 272 electoral votes in an election she only needs 270. While another 70-odd electoral votes are considered up-for-grabs in battleground states, if Donald Trump cannot peel off a solidly-blue state on Tuesday, he has no chance of winning the presidency.

The Experts Cannot Agree

UK sports bettors are not the only ones holding their collective breath, though. Non-gamblers inside and outside the United States are waiting with anticipation for the results, because even experts like Nate Silver of 538 are still hedging their bets. Whatever else can be said of him, Donald Trump is a huge political wild card.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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