Why Gamblers are Obsessed with Trump

When it all started some two years ago, everyone knew Trump running for President would be entertaining. What the world didn’t realise is that the lines between entertainment and politics would begin to blur and the daily business of the leader of the American people would become a global soap opera. Along with magazines, newspapers and political analysts, the betting industry has taken the Trump saga and turned it into one of the most popular betting markets to date.

While political betting used to involve serious analysis and predictions of elections, the daily drama of the American President has fused politics and entertainment into a betting market all on its own. For example, the Irish betting firm Paddy Power now offers a full range of Trump bets ranging from who will be sacked next, to whether Trump will announce the existence of extra-terrestrials. Bettors can actually take bets on whether a US state will declare its independence before the end of the year or whether Trump will sue the betting firm.

Politics Meets Entertainment

The reason people have become obsessed with Trump is because neither politics or the world of online betting has seen anything like Trump before. His rise to power has generated such global interest that he has balked the trends and become a cautionary tale to the rest of the planet. It has become almost obligatory to refer to Donald Trump when analysing any major election; whether it is in regard to the candidate ideology or the possibility of another upset.

Where betting firms were once sainted for their ability to predict political outcomes, Trump has turned bettors against the experts, giving them the stones to back outsiders at any given chance. In the most recent French election, betting operators took more wagers on right-wing Marine Le Pen than any other candidate in the election. The same trend was seen in the Netherlands where the “Dutch Trump” was backed heavily ahead of election day.

In both cases, the markets opposed them and were proven to be right. To date, Donald Trump remains the only winner of a major political election this century who wasn’t posted as the odd-on favourite 100 days before the election. For now, it seems that the focus of political betting is on how it will all end. Will Trump resign, be impeached or run for a second term? In any standard cycle, most of the bets would be focused on the second term debate. While this may be a popular market, the bigger numbers are concerned with his survival in office.

New Betting Markets

More than six times as many bets have been traded on Trump’s exit date compared to if he will win a second term. At this point, the bets are evenly split whether he will actually last the full term or take an early exit. The odds at the moment are 11/2 for an exit in 2017, 9/2 in 2018, 13/2 in 2019 and finally 10/11 in 2020. Trump is already responsible for many bettors making a fortune of the market. It is a testament to how unpredictable the man really is. Throughout much of his campaign, it seemed he was done for, only to rise again and defy the odds.

In hindsight, it would have been better to trade on the massive swings instead of the final outcome. Basically, it would have meant backing Trump when things looked bleak and then cashing out with a huge profit once he bounced back; then start the cycle all over again. This same swing dynamic is happening with his presidency in the White House. The odds of Trump leaving before the end of 2017 has fluctuated from 3/1 to 8/1 within a matter of weeks before slipping to 9-4 after he fired James Comey. Once all the fuss died down, the odds shifted back to 11/2.