Online Gamblers Are Betting Big Bucks on a Clinton Win
Bookie odds aren’t ideal measures, but they have a decent track record of predicting election wins.
Nov 7 2016, 9:00pm
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Inches away from election day, thousands of gamblers around the world have made their choice of candidate, and they're betting on Hillary Clinton. In fact, more bets have been placed in favor of the Democratic nominee's win in the past 24 hours than were placed in the entire month of October at Sporting Index, a UK-based sports betting site, according to the site.
"People are backing her like she can't be beat," Ed Fulton, political trading spokesperson for Sporting Index, told me. "Almost no one has been backing Trump in the last 24 hours."
Right now, Sporting Index predicts Clinton will scoop up 325 electoral college votes—remember, she needs 270 to win—with Donald Trump at 213 votes. Fulton explained that these predictions are a combination of the company's in-house model, external polls, and the influence of the betting market. The site has taken 8,500 bets so far and expects that number to jump to 12,000 by the time the election is over.
On Friday, the site predicted Clinton would bring in 290 electoral college votes following a dip when the FBI announced it was once again investigating the former Secretary of State's emails. But after the FBI cleared Clinton on Sunday, fresh bets started pouring in. Because of the influx of new bets, the odds on Clinton have increased as well. Right now, if you were to place a $100 bet on Clinton winning, you'd collect $120 if she won, Fulton said. By contrast, if you were to place $100 on Trump, and he won, you'd collect about $470.
Other online betting sites, including Ladbrokes, SkyBet, and NetBet are showing equally impressive odds for Clinton. Still, with most polls showing a tighter race, it makes you wonder what betting sites can tell us. Fulton pointed out that, when it comes to politics, bookies and bettors have a good track record.
"We saw this last time with Romney and Obama; Even though the polls were quite close, the vast majority of the money was on Obama, and the price didn't reflect how close the polling was," Fulton said. "My personal view is the odds are saying it's all over but the shouting and Hillary is as good as in the White House."
Sporting Index specializes in spread betting, where the person placing a wager is betting on whether the prediction made by the site will be above or below the actual result, which Fulton said indicates people are serious about where they place their bets—the more accurate their predictions, the more money they'll actually make. And Fulton said bettors are more informed than ever with the plethora of polling and data available online.
Still, he said the betting odds are probably skewed from what the real odds will be on election night, due to the avalanche of bets, and in this turbulent, unorthodox election, there's no such thing as a sure bet.
"It's been such a crazy year and things are so uncertain," Fulton said. "There may still be some surprises tomorrow night."