Overseas bookmakers have predicted that the U.S. presidential election will be the biggest weather event in history as billions have already been invested in the race.
Four years after President Donald Trump upset the national polls that predicted Hillary Clinton’s victory, people watching the race from afar are once again betting on who will rule the country if Democratic candidate Joe Biden leads the polls and Trump remains an outsider.
According to Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at British gambling company GVC Holdings, Trump himself is part of the attraction of this year’s presidential race.
“He is simply such massive news worldwide,” Shaddick told online gambling site CalvinAyre.com last week. “Almost everyone has a strong opinion of him, one way or another, and I think that’s what really drives this biggest political betting event we’ve ever seen”.
Prior to this year, the 2016 US presidential election was the largest political betting event supervised by Shaddick’s company, he said. The two-horse racing aspect of the change of power in the US is part of what attracts players, Shaddick said, adding that he expects even more money to be bet on Trump and Biden as election day approaches.
“We expect this to be about twice as much as 2016, based on the numbers we’ve seen so far,” Shaddick said. “Everything indicates that this will be bigger than 2016 and possibly bigger than any single one-time betting market that has ever existed in politics.
GVC Holdings is not the only organization that has reported record betting spikes around the presidential race. London-based bookmaker William Hill told The Digital Journal that he expects the race to raise nearly $13 million, making it the biggest gambling event of the year.
On Monday, the London-based Betfair Exchange announced that an unidentified person had placed a single bet on Biden’s victory worth approximately $1.29 million. The company stated that it was the largest bet of its kind ever placed in a political race.
The money William Hill predicted for the election will dwarf the amount the American Gaming Association would bet on the Super Bowl 2020. In January, the AGA announced that 26 million Americans would bet a total of $6.8 billion on the Super Bowl LIV, an increase of nearly $1 billion in bets placed on last year’s championship game. This figure also exceeds the amount spent on March Madness 2019 bets, which AGA estimates would bring in about $8.5 billion.
While most national polls indicate that Biden has a clear lead over Trump moving towards election day, Ladbrokes of GVC Holdings shows that Trump’s chances of re-election are greater than the polls suggest. On Monday Ladbrokes posted a bar chart on Twitter that showed the gaps between online betting trends and the polls, with his own bettors giving the president a 36 percent chance of staying in office.
The chart showed that Betfair estimated Trump’s chances of winning a second term in office at around 34 percent, while the New Zealand prediction market PredictIt gave a 39 percent chance of winning.
Washington Newsday contacted Shaddick for further comments but did not receive a response in time for publication.