At one site alone, London-based Betfair, nearly $600 million in presidential wagers are hanging tight.
Bookmakers typically have no qualms about coughing up big bucks when Super Bowls go sideways or boxing matches go to hell. In 1990, Buster Douglas shocked the world by knocking out mighty Mike Tyson, defying odds as high as 42-1 and leading one gambler to win $57,000 on a $1,500 wager (before the disparity even peaked). But this time, online gambling sites (which offer a mode of betting that is illegal in the US) are keeping hands in pockets during this month’s commander-in-chief stalemate.
“We still have not graded a winner,” Adam Burns, sportsbook manager of BetOnline, told The Post.
Burns said he’s reserving a decision until Trump exhausts his legal options.
“People who bet Trump say it is not over. People who bet Biden say it is. This makes for a tricky situation where we have to be sure. It’s not like a football game” in terms of there being a clear-cut victor, Burns said.
It’s also not like a football game in terms of money that has been wagered. Burns said his site brought in a seven-figure total for this election. Others brought in similar totals.
“The presidential election was bigger than the Super Bowl, which is normally our biggest event of the year,” said Burns. “We kept taking action, with fluctuating odds for a few days after the election. But now the bet is [no longer available] and we’re hoping for an official decision.”
According to Bloomberg Wealth, gambling sites have learned their lessons from past missteps. In 2016, the Irish gambling platform PaddyPower paid out more than $1 million on Hillary Clinton as the winner — prior to Election Day.
But, even as presidential bettors cool their heels, they are not completely out in the cold. The gambling site 888 is offering action on whether Trump will last the full term in office (betting “no” will get you 6-1 odds) and Biden winning in 2024 is 12-1 at BetOnline, with thinner odds planned for wagers on Kamala Harris taking over the presidency in 2022.
“We’ll probably put it at 7-1 or something like that,” said Burns. “The age thing plays into it,” he said, referring to Biden, 77, and Harris, 56.
For now, though, he is most keenly focused on a definitive outcome of the presidential election. Personal politics aside, Burns admits to pulling for Biden as a professional play.
“If Biden comes in, it’s a big win for us,” he said, explaining that the site’s customers favored Trump. “If Trump is declared the winner, we will take a bath. It will not be a happy day here.”