That’s because tens of millions of dollars (and a lot of UK Pounds) would change hands as our biggest political election became a matter of wager and sport, no different than the betting that takes place every Sunday on NFL football games or on mega fights in Vegas.
The epicenter of this international gambling-on-politics trend seems to be an unlikely source: Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker that coordinates legal wagering –online but also still on the phone – for gambling across the UK. It was Paddy Power, among others, that handicapped the U.S. presidential election, offering odds and big payouts on Clinton and Trump.
But it back fired – big time – for the Irish bookmaker when Trump turned all the polls upside down and shocked the world with his victory. In fact, Paddy Power had early betting lines at only 150/1 for Trump – a virtual long shot.
Other UK bookmakers who do the same thing like Sun Bets had the chances for Hillary Clinton winning at 83 percent. Convergex had Trump’s odds of winning at a similar 28.5%.
But as the election progressed and the FBI renewed its probe of Clinton’s emails, Trump’s chances of winning grew. Heading into the weeks before the election, his odds grew to 5/1 then 5/2, just as Clinton’s dropped from 2/9 to 1/3.
There was heavy betting on both candidates, as UK bookies took in about £20 million (about $25 million USD) in total wagers. But when the FBI announced that Clinton was in the clear again, Paddy Power maintained their odds overwhelmingly for her to win the Presidency. In fact, they had the chance of Trump winning the election were roughly the same as flipping a coin and getting heads twice in a row.
Interestingly enough, there was a huge influx of money coming in for Trump to win in the last few days of the election, with 91% of wagers placed on the real estate mogul to win.
But Paddy Power was still so confident in a Clinton victory that they actually started paying out winnings to those that bet on the Secretary of State and former First Lady, doling out £800,000 early to customers.
When Trump shocked the world on November 8, Paddy Power and the other betting sites were left with a stiff bill, facing the biggest political payout in its 28-year history.
One man named William Hill won £4 million on the outcome of the election, which was a record for political betting. Another Trump “super fan” named John Mappin won £103,000 on Trump after putting down 33 individual bets over 18 months.
Paddy Power, already on the hook for £800,000 in early payouts to Clinton non-winners, would be facing imminent bankruptcy from the double losses if not for one thing: their historic blunder(s) have gotten them so much worldwide publicity that attention to their wagering site has skyrocketed, and they’re in the black once again.
Paddy Power’s odds makers got the Trump win incredibly wrong on the heels of another titanic upset: Brexit. In fact, they’d given the UK a 90 percent chance of remaining in the European Union, which obviously didn’t happen.
If someone had bet on a Donald Trump victory, Britain leaving the EU and soccer team Leicester City winning the Premier League they’d have won a massive $50 million USD payout on a measly $5 bet, as they had the chance for all three events to happen at only about 0.000033 percent.
Did you cash in by betting on Trump, or lose money on Clinton? Don’t worry – you’ll have plenty more chances to wager on political happenings within the Trump presidency and in future U.S. elections.
Here are some odds Paddy Power and Sun Bet have posted:
President Trump “Specials”:
1/3 To see his term out
9/4 Not to see his term out
3/1 To get divorced during his term
5/1 To win the 2020 presidential election
10/1 To be impeached
12/1 To be jailed for a sex offense
6/1 Hillary Clinton to be jailed before the end of 2020
4/1 To build a complete wall between Mexico and USA
40/1 The first commercial flight to Mars to take place during Trump’s presidency
66/1 Trump to paint the White House gold
100/1 To be banned from visiting the UK during his term
Where will President Trump’s first state visit be?
100/1 North Korea
US Presidential Election 2020 odds:
11/10 Donald Trump
7/1 Mike Pence
7/1 Paul Ryan
7/1 Tim Kaine
8/1 Michelle Obama
9/1 Elizabeth Warren
12/1 Hillary Clinton
13/1 Julian Castro
16/1 Cory Booker
16/1 Amy Klobuchar
20/1 Bernie Sanders
20/1 Kamala Harris
25/1 Trey Gowdy
33/1 Ted Cruz
40/1 Jeb Bush
66/1 NFL quarterback Tom Brady
66/1 Mark Cuban
90/1 Kanye West
100/1 Chelsea Clinton
150/1 Kevin Spacey
275/1 Kim Kardashian
Originally written for Blue Water Credit.