The U.S. Presidential Election is on pace to be the most bet-on event of all-time.

  • This 2020 Presidential Election is positioned to be the most bet on event in history and Americans can’t bet on it through US sportsbooks.
  • States like West Virginia have tried to pass bills to allow sportsbook operators to offer political betting but it failed while sportsbooks have also pushed for offering political odds.
  • Corruption and ending democracy are what has stopped states from legalizing political betting because Americans would have a monetary stake in the election.
  • States are benefiting from sports betting tax revenue after the deficit caused by COVID-19 and political betting would bring in much more for the states in the form of additional taxes.

WASHINGTON – With Election Day only days away, this election season has already been historic by itself but it looks like betting will also be hitting record-breaking numbers.

The 2020 Presidential Election, which sits in the middle of one of the most historic years in American history, is now positioned to be the most bet-on event of all-time and could change political betting forever.

Four years ago, the Trump-Clinton race set its own record with $258 million wagered on the election and $97 million of that total placed around this point of the race four years ago. Currently, there has been $215 million spent on this year’s Election with almost $400 million projected by the end according to Betfair which owns FanDuel Sportsbook.

The odds on online sportsbooks such as Bovada have former vice president Joe Biden winning the November 3 election. These odds are in line with the national polls that also give Biden the edge to win the Presidency.

2020 Presidential Election Odds

  • Joe Biden -180
  • Donald Trump +150

Even with President Donald Trump being an underdog for this election, he has still garnered a lot of money wagered through online sportsbooks. In fact, 75% of money bet on the election has been placed on the incumbent.

With such big numbers already, It doesn’t matter who people are betting on, the surge in presidential betting could turn the tide and create the opportunity for state-regulated sportsbooks to start offering political wagering in the future.

States Tried To Accept Bets In 2020

West Virginia has already tried to make betting on politics a reality for American sportsbooks in their state for this election but with no avail. Lawmakers in WV introduced a new bill earlier this year that would allow bettors to put action on political events but it was not passed.

Later on, the West Virginia Lottery approved of the in-state operator FanDuel Sportsbook offering presidential election odds but within hours it was pulled down and the state faced backlash.

“Gambling on elections has been illegal in West Virginia since 1868,” said Mac Warner, Secretary of State. “Gambling on the outcome of an election has no place in our American democracy. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. This is a terrible idea. Let’s shut this down right now and be very clear about it.”

Legal Sportsbooks Have Advocated For It

Many sportsbooks have tried to push for election betting especially for this year because even a year ago sportsbooks could predict this election would be historic.

“We would love to offer politics,” said Matt King, chief executive officer of FanDuel. “Frankly, we like to offer games that everybody loves to play. Our parent company, Flutter Entertainment, does a huge business on the Betfair exchange with political betting. So, the reality is it’s just a question of: Will it be allowed from a regulatory perspective? We are working on a couple things that might be more free-to-play, but will certainly tie into the election.”

FanDuel and DraftKings also sent emails to West Virginia officials because they noticed they were and would be losing money to the offshore betting sites that offer political wagering.

On top of this, these same online sportsbooks that are taking all of the bets made by players in the US are also not being taxed by the American government causing major monetary loss.

Would It Leave The Door Open For Corruption?

The main reason the US does not want to have state-regulated sportsbooks offer political betting is because of the risk of creating an opportunity for corruption, especially after election fraud and attacks on democracy has become a hot topic in these last two presidential elections.

This particular possible corruption is said to affect the democracy of the election because money would become a huge part of Americans’ perception of politics. If more people had a monetary stake in the election, they may be more inclined to vote a certain way for the sake of making a profit.

Those against betting on the election see an end to democracy as inevitable.

The fact that the offshore sportsbooks already allow Americans to place wagers on politics takes away from the “what if” of corruption. Yes, there would be more and easier access to political betting if the states regulated it but that doesn’t change the fact that those who want to bet on politics already can.

Opponents will still argue that less availability to political betting is still more efficient than unregulated election betting.

Political Betting Would Provide Crucial Funds To States

Many states with legal sports betting have benefited from having the tax revenue that comes from state-regulated sportsbooks and the addition of political betting might only bring in more for much-needed revenue.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are two of the top states when it comes to the amount of money wagered by bettor in their state. New Jersey broke the national monthly sports betting handle for September by collecting $748 million in sports bets.

New Jersey was able to collect $4.92 million in tax revenue from sports betting in one month with Pennsylvania generating $2.1 million in a month. A majority of America is dealing with a high budget deficit because of the coronavirus pandemic and finding ways to receive more state taxes has been the name of the game.

With reasons on both sides of the issue of US political betting in the county, it is still possible that there could eventually be approval of political betting for American sportsbooks. It won’t be this election but maybe gamblers can look for an opportunity to bet on the 2024 presidential election.

What Political Betting Looks Like Now

For now, the closest that sportsbooks can get to political betting comes in the form of free-to-play pools. DraftKings has offered these predictor-type games on their sportsbooks and has seen high engagement from them.

“Our customers love being involved with big moments. They love to predict things and most of all they want skin-in-the-game. The biggest moment in U.S. politics is the presidential election and we’re seeing tremendous engagement and enthusiasm from the DraftKings community, as evidenced by the 350,000 customers who have already entered our Free-to-Play Presidential Election Pool,” said Matt Kalish, Co-Founder and President of DraftKings.

DraftKings also offers odds on the U.S. Presidential Election but bet can only be put on those odds in Ireland. Their European platform has Joe Biden as a -225 favorite and Donald Trump with +170 odds.

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