Senator Bernie Sanders

  • DraftKings sent the West Virginia Lottery an email detailing why they want to offer political betting.
  • The coronavirus is part of the reason why online sportsbooks are interested in political betting.
  • Sportsbooks from the U.K. are seeing more action on U.S. election odds every year.

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Before gaining temporary approval for political betting in West Virginia, DraftKings sent a lengthy email detailing why they were asking for approval.

Emails show what DraftKings was aiming for by petitioning for political betting in West Virginia. These emails also told the West Virginia Lottery how they would operate political betting in the state.

For example, DraftKings is working with Kambi to make sure that suspicious betting behavior is reported.

But that is not all the emails detailed. The emails also tried to show why political betting odds are safe to offer in the state. DraftKings made claims that there has been no election corruption scandals where political betting is occurring.

DraftKings is also interested in political betting due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Political betting gives customers more to wager on and DraftKings is losing money due to the lack of sports being played.

After receiving the email, the Lottery approved political betting for a couple of hours. But after reexamination, political betting was ultimately shot down.

The reason is that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission CFTC banned political betting in 2011. The reason for that is someone may make votes not in line with their beliefs to win a political bet. Whereas with legal sports betting, most bettors cannot influence the outcome of the game.

Betting On U.S. Elections In Europe

But betting on U.S. elections is allowed in Europe. Companies such as Betfair have been taking bets on U.S. elections for a number of years now.

For example, Betfair had props up for both the 2016 U.S. elections and the Brexit referendum. According to Reuters, bets on the 2016 U.S. elections reached around $130 million while bets on Brexit was around $159 million.

U.S. political bets are extremely popular in Europe and companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel want to capitalize on that popularity. According to DraftKings’s email to the W.V. Lottery, they are losing a customer base to companies such as Bovada which offers political bets to U.S. customers.

DraftKings, along with FanDuel and BetMGM, urged the W.V. Lottery to let their customers bet on elections so that it will bring in more tax dollars to the U.S. instead of it going offshore.

However, it is unlikely that U.S. political betting will come soon. Regulators have vehemently rejected political betting in the past and they are continuing to do so. Unless something changes, political betting is unlikely to come to the U.S. anytime soon.

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