Anyone in B.C. still think Donald Trump has a shot at winning this thing? You could put your money where your mouth is.
The B.C. Lottery Corporation has been offering various bets relating to the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election for the past two years, including the overall question of who will win. The betting wasn’t that popular until “the Donald” started winning state primaries at the beginning of this year, and both Democrat and Republican races heated up.
“We saw a spike really go up at that time and, come the spring, (the presidential race) became our top-performing novelty-betting category,” said lottery spokesman Doug Cheng. “It unseated the Oscars, which was always the top category at the end of the year.”
What the corporation calls “novelty betting” also includes wagers on everything from the prospects for proving that alien life exists to the sex of the next royal offspring. The niche betting market at online site playnow.com doesn’t do the dollar volume of conventional lotteries, but it’s weirder than ever.
“The wagers we offer for the election reflect what’s happening during the time (the bets are taken) in the election cycle,” Cheng said.
So, in addition to your overall predictions on who will end up in the White House, you could along the way have made a few side-bets on Trump versus Cruz, or Hillary versus Bernie.
“On any given debate night we have bets … that can range from things like the colour of Donald Trump’s tie, the first issue to be debated … to will Donald Trump refer to Hillary Clinton by a vulgar name.”
It’s maybe worth taking some action on that last one.
The bets are made up and odds are crunched in partnership with Paddy Power, an Irish sports bookmaker that is one of the world’s largest.
“The current state or flavour of the campaign, they’ll cater the wagers to reflect that,” Cheng said.
Seldom has any political campaign had the flavour of this one. The most popular bet is the one on the election’s ultimate outcome.
Currently in B.C., more than $258,000 has been bet so far on more than 2,400 bets — those figures have more than doubled since July. The average better is putting down $104 on the election.
The shifting odds reflect the campaign’s strangeness. In January 2015, a Trump win was deemed less likely (odds of 100/1) than the discovery of alien life (49/1).
Just before the first presidential debate, his odds peaked at 29/20. Then came threats to jail his opponent if he won and the damaging videotape in which he was heard bragging about sexual assault, both of which dropped his odds down to 47/10 as of this week. But he’s still got those aliens beat.
Democrat presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has had a steady rise in the odds-maker’s eyes. She was at a relatively even 11/10 in March 2015 and was the clear front-runner this week, at odds of 19/100.
Currently 50.4 per cent of B.C. bettors are saying Clinton will take it, and 49.6 per cent are going for the big payout on a long-odds Trump win.
So far the largest bet placed on Trump is a $4,000 flyer, taken when odds for Trump were 31/20. If Trump wins, that punter will take home $10,200.
Two Clinton fans each bet $6,000, at different times and for different odds, on her taking the White House. One will take home $8,040 for a Clinton win and the other $9,480.
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