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Like 2016, Big Bets Rolling in on Trump Ahead of Election Day

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Oct/30/2020

Online gambling company BetOnline.ag is reporting that it is seeing similar betting patterns on next week's election outcome that it did in 2016, and that it stands to lose millions if Donald Trump pulls off another upset.


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Despite political polls and predictive models pointing toward a victory by Hillary Clinton in 2016, the betting public lined up to back the underdog, Trump, which ultimately cost bookmakers millions.

The projections are even more bullish on Joe Biden this year, but again, the bets are flooding in on Trump. Will history repeat itself?

In the weeks leading up to America's last Presidential Election, widely-respected political polls and predictive models suggested a somewhat breezy win for Hillary Clinton.

RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight both projected Clinton's chances of becoming the nation's first female president around 70 percent. Other websites were even more bullish on Clinton, and so were the bookmakers.

"When there's a fishy line or movement in sports betting, the old adage is that 'Vegas knows something,'" Dave Mason, brand manager at BetOnline.ag, said. "But in 2016, it was the bettors in the know. The oddsmakers make a living being on the right side, but they were dead wrong that year."

Money flooded in on Donald Trump in the weeks and days leading up to the 2016 Election. But BetOnline and other bookmakers worldwide were firm in their position and continued to offer great value on the underdog.

"Everyone was shellshocked. Heck, I even think Trump was a little surprised," Mason said of the 2016 outcome. "To say the bookies took a bath that Election Day would be a gross understatement. The decision was a big loss for the industry, and a big win for the betting public."

Estimated losses in the global gambling markets that were able to offer political wagering for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election were reportedly in the hundreds of millions.

Fast forward four years, and gaming properties are sitting in a very similar position.

As of this release, FiveThirtyEight is giving Joe Biden even better odds than Clinton, currently predicting an 89 percent chance the former VP will be elected. RCP's national poll average shows Biden winning by a small margin.

But the bettors, once again, are predicting an underdog outcome.

Since Monday, BetOnline.ag reported that 85 percent of the bets taken on its presidential odds have been on Trump. This one-sided action has greatly swung the numbers in terms of the company’s liability. BetOnline revealed that it stands to lose a sum in the low seven figures if Trump is re-elected.

“Political stances aside, we’ll all be rooting for the favorite next week,” Mason said. “That’s uncommon in our industry, but we need Biden in a big way.”

The 2020 Presidential Election is close to becoming the biggest decision in BetOnline's 20-year history of taking wagers on sports, politics, entertainment and more. The website’s political betting markets this year have already surpassed the straight bet handle for Super Bowl LIV back in February.

BetOnline would not provide specifics, but a representative said that is has booked an amount in the eight-figure range for this year’s election.

Currently on the website, Biden is a -180 favorite to win the 2020 Presidential Election while Trump is a +160 underdog.

It remains to be seen as to whether or not the gamblers will be on the right side of the odds again, but it's worth noting that the same betting patterns from 2016 are replicating as Election Day nears.

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