The recent 2016 United States presidential election created a storm of publicity all over the world. There has probably never been an election, in any country, that was accompanied by so much public attention, or that created such strong emotion. People in New Zealand, in common with all the other countries of the world, held strong opinions on the candidates, and were happy to express them loudly and often.
This divisive, passionate and unpredictable presidential election has become well known for another reason too. The 2016 US election betting is now recognised as having added up to the highest amount of bets placed on a political event in history. People from Norway to New York were pouring millions of dollars into the online betting sites, in the hope of landing a huge prize from a victory by one of the candidates. Even in the UK, the number of wagers placed online was expected to exceed the number placed on the outcome of the Brexit vote, the referendum on the UK leaving the European Union. It was estimated that over 130 million dollars had been spent on US election betting on who will become the next American president.
Major Betting Outside The US
The majority of big political betting occurs outside America, as US election betting in the United States is limited by law to fairly small trading platforms. Still, even the small political betting australia sites were humming with activity when the election day approached. New Zealand punters could also use the site run jointly by the Victoria University in Wellington and Washington DC.
Most public polls predicted a Democratic victory, in spite of the controversy created by the FBI and recent disclosures of emails. When the FBI finally announced that the new batch of emails would not change their decision not to press criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, it was difficult to say how much the US election betting campaign and the polls would be influenced by this. Probably the damage done by the original announcement was never going to be repaired.
Predictions Completely Wrong
When the votes were finally counted and Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States, it was obvious that all the polls and predictions had got it wrong. In some cases in the UK, the bookmakers had even paid out Democratic voters in advance, which of course resulted in a huge loss. Odds were being updated even as the polls were closing, and the result was becoming apparent. The bookmakers, however, were willing to accept that Donald Trump had won even before the news channels admitted that their predictions had been so incorrect. In politics, as in many other situations, the underdog can never be underestimated.
In fact, 2016 has been the year of polls and predictions being completely wrong. The underdog in many cases has been the winner, against all forecasts. From the result of the Brexit vote to Leicester City football club, from Villanova’s March Madness win to the Denver Broncos’ unexpected win in the Super Bowl, the Trump win is a part of the year’s unpredictable betting.
There is another four years to go before the world has to go through the stress and excitement of the US election betting scenario again, but it is likely that all the present records in the US election betting will be broken again.