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Despite the fact that most major media outlets have proclaimed Democrat Joe Biden to be the “president-elect,” popular online gambling sites have not yet declared a winner, leaving in limbo some $600 million that bet on the race.
President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared resigned to an eventual Biden victory when he claimed on Twitter his rival “won.” But the president was quick to point out subsequently that he wasn’t “conceding anything” because he believes the election was “rigged.”
“He won because the Election was Rigged. NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!” Trump wrote. As of yet, those claims remain unproven.
The president’s refusal to concede until his legal challenges play out could be why the big online gambling sites have yet to pay out.
At one site alone, London-based Betfair, there is roughly $600 million in wagers on the presidential election outcome still up in the air.
“We still have not graded a winner,” Adam Burns, the sportsbook manager of BetOnline, told the New York Post.
The outlet noted further:
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.
As for Burns, he said the online wager site will wait until President Trump’s campaign has exhausted all of its legal challenges unsuccessfully before payouts to Biden bettors are made.
“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” where there is a clear-cut winner, Burns told the Post.
The election betting is also nothing like a football game or other major sporting event; Burns said BetOnline brought in seven figures for the presidential wager. Other sites reported similar revenues; the Post reported Nov. 2, the day before the election, that all bets on the election globally totaled $1 billion, a record.
“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.”
Online betting sites learned a lesson from the 2016 election, according to Bloomberg Wealth. In 2016, for instance, PaddyPower, an Irish gambling platform, paid out more than a million dollars on Hillary Clinton as the winner before Election Day.
And while presidential bettors are having to wait for the final results, other sites are taking on alternative wagers involving the presidency.
For instance, gambling site 888 is taking action on whether President Trump will remain in office his full term (“no” gets the bettor 6-to-1 odds). Meanwhile, Biden winning in 2024 is 12-1 at BetOnline; odds on Kamala Harris taking over the presidency in 2022 are smaller.
Burns did say that if Biden manages a victory, his site will win big.
“If Biden comes in, it’s a big win for us,” he said, noting most of the site’s bettors favored President Trump.
“If Trump is declared the winner, we will take a bath. It will not be a happy day here.”
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