Foreign Sportsbooks Take Propsition Bets on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Legal sportsbooks in the United States want to be able to offer bets on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, citing the action foreign bookmaker sites receive with US political prop bets. The Nevada legislature is considering legalazing US prop bets, while one famous handicapper already offers betting odds–purely for entertainment purposes.

I. Nelson Rose, who works as a legal consultant on gambling and as a Whittier Law School professor in L.A., said recently that American sportsbooks see no reason why they avoid such betting, when foreign sites already offer such gaming opportunities. Dr. Rose said, “There is certainly is a lot of pressure to change it because of the overseas activities.

British Sportsbooks and US Elections

UK, Irish, and Australian sportsbooks offer proposition wagers on elections and candidates, and those bets are popular with customers. William Hill, Paddy Power, and Sportingbet currently offer wagers like “Who Will Be the GOP Nominee?”  or futures bets on individual candidates like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Jeb Bush.

Already, despite the election being 15 months away, gamblers already are starting to make bets on the various candidates. Even overseas, the presence of a polarizing figure like Donald Trump is driving interest.

The British bookmakers are known to take bets on virtually anything, from tabloid scandals to UFO sightings. It is probably no surprise that bets on America’s wild current political scene are offered. Given the fact US policy affects the international community like no other country’s policies, UK gamblers are often enthusiastic in wagering on the outcomes.

2013 Nevada Bill

Nevada State Senator Richard Segerblom has tried since 2013 to legalize political proposition betting in his state. Sen. Segerblom said that the bill passed in the Nevada Senate, but was quickly voted down in the Nevada House of Representatives. He blamed the Republican-controlled House, which takes a social conservative view on certain types of gambling.

Sen. Segerblom, who is who is nicknamed “Tick”, said the defeat of the bill surprised him. He added, “It seemed like a no-brainer to me. In reality, it’s already happening in Europe. Why not bet in Nevada and make some money on it? People say it’s going to ruin our reputation. This is Nevada. What kind of reputation are you talking about?”

The state lawmaker, says he plans on introducing a similar bill in 2017, which is the next time such a proposal could be legally introduced once again. By then, unfortunately, it will be too later to wager on the most pivotal and volatile election cycle in recent history.

Jimmy Vaccaro’s Odds

The interest is there, say the experts. Jimmy Vaccaro, the famous bookmaker for the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, said he offers odds on Donald Trump for the entertainment of his readers. Vaccaro said the recent Republican debate caused him to move Trump’s odds from 20-to-1 up to 15-to-1, because it is becoming a more realistic proposition all the times. Most respected pollsters would agree.

Mr. Vaccaro said people are interested in the candidacy of Donald Trump, whether they like him or not. Vaccaro said, “He is a marquee value. [Trump] is like the Dallas Cowboys. People either love him or love to hate him. I’m rooting for my man Donald to stay in the race for quite a while.

Donald Trump Draws Attention

The bookmaker said the decision to post (non-betting) odds began as an attempt start discussions of politics among those who study his odds. He said he plans on updating those odds for as long as Donald Trump remains a candidate.

Vaccaro said he expects political campaigns are paying attention to his odds, just as they do formal polls on the political trends. In a moment which seemed to channel his hero’s swagger, Vaccaro added, “I guarantee you they’re watching.”

University of Iowa Study

“Iowa Electronic Markets” is a legal way Americans can wager on the US political scene, by placing futures wagers on the 2016 candidates. The reason such betting is legal is the program has special legal authorization to host such gaming, because it is part of the University of Iowa’s ongoing study of gambling habits. The bets are used as research on the gaming industry.

Dr. Rose told The Boston Globe that Iowa Electronic Markets offered similar wagers in the 2008 US election cycle. He said, “You could, in effect, bet on whether a candidate was going to win, but you could also put up money the other way.

Why It’s Outlawed in the USA

The professor said betting on elections was outlawed by US authorities long ago, because they feared such gambling might be a reason to affect the outcome of elections. He said that’s is not much of a danger in the 21st century, though the laws still remain on the books.

Rose said, “That’s hard to do on the presidential level, but not on the local level. These are pretty archaic laws from a time when it was easier to rig elections than they are today.

Given the amount of money expected to be in the U.S. electoral system in 2016, it is hard to imagine match-fixers somehow affecting the outcome of the race. It is expected that $5 billion will be spent in donations to various campaigns, national committees, and super PACs. The Koch Brothers alone have pledged $900 million in donations, while Sheldon Adelson is expected to offer another $100 million in contributions.

With that in mind, winning a bet would seem to be the last reason someone would have for rigging the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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,, and

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