- U.S. election betting likely won’t be available for the 2020 Election at state-regulated sportsbooks.
- The power to regulate political betting falls in the hands of state lawmakers state’s gambling regulatory authority.
- Donald Trump is favored at -120 odds to be re-elected as president.
LAS VEGAS — The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves through the gambling world as sportsbooks revenue numbers have suffered due to many of the postponements or cancellations of the biggest sports leagues in the world.
This void in sports betting has forced sportsbooks to get creative with their betting props and how they market to potential bettors.
Recently, SBC held a digital summit that virtually brought together some of the biggest executives in the sports betting industry. Among the topics discussed was “finding an alternative to sports betting when traditional sports are down.”
One alternative that was brought up during the summit was political betting. As the 2020 US Election gets closer, more and more political props should be available but those bets won’t be found at any of the sportsbooks based in the United States.
Sportsbooks, especially in the United States, could use political betting as a way to make up for the loss in revenue from not being able to offer regular betting lines because of COVID-19.
Political Betting in the US
In April, West Virginia became the first state to offer legal betting odds on the 2020 US Presidential Election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The odds were taken down after 15 minutes by FanDuel Sportsbook as they did not have the proper regulations in place to deal with the political betting.
One way that sportsbooks have been able to test the waters of potentially having political odds on their betting menu is by listing the props as for entertainment purposes only. Which is what a Las Vegas oddsmaker Jimmy Vacarro did recently.
“Me and (South Point sportsbook director) Chris (Andrews) know this is the worst time in our country’s history. We did it just to have people talk about it and have a little bit of fun,” said Vaccaro to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “For maybe a half hour out of your day, you can get away from this insanity and talk about it.”
Since these odds are for entertainment only sportsbooks don’t win or lose any money but they are able to see what would happen if political betting was legalized.
“If me and Chris make a huge mistake, it doesn’t matter. We can’t lose nothing,” said Vaccaro. “On the other side, if it’s a real good number, we can’t win nothing. It’s for entertainment purposes.”
Political Betting In The United Kingdom
Unlike the United States, the United Kingdom has had legal political betting for quite a while and sportsbooks in the country saw a huge boost in revenue from during the 2016 US Presidential Election According to Matthew Shaddick, head of politics betting at Ladbrokes Coral Group.
“The Trump election was huge,” said Shaddick. “In general, presidential elections are a nice binary option—in European elections, you’ve got complicated parliamentary processes. But Trump is such a well-known and controversial figure. The 2020 U.S. general election will no doubt be the next big thing. It’s clear to me from all the money we’re taking in that it will break all the records.”
Seeing such a good outcome from the 2016 Election has many sportsbooks in England preparing for another big payday in November.
“It’s going to continue growing,” said Shaddick. “The fact that sports are shut down, the fact that they’re not going to have the Olympics, there’s no doubt the U.S. election will be the biggest market we trade here.”
Sportsbooks in the United Kingdom will generate more revenue throughout the year than sportsbooks in the United States and it’s safe to assume that political betting will be one of the main factors driving a wedge in the revenue gap in the two countries.
The US may eventually allow political betting to be a part of the legal sports betting industry. However, it likely won’t be in time for the 2020 Presidential Election.