Gamblers on politics are facing delays in their payouts regarding the US presidential elections as the process entered into a stage of legal action and recounts in several states and bookies are not willing to declare a winner yet.
No Declared Winner, No Payouts
Major betting companies are still withholding payouts of millions of wagers, despite US media following the vote counts declared Biden as the President-Elect. Some of the operators continue to take new bets as the odds fluctuate and the legal case commenced by the Trump team continues.
Betting on politics in the US is technically illegal, but New Zealand-based PredictIt, a platform which started as academic research at Victoria University of Wellington and subsequently evolved into a futures-trading market one, received an exemption from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Wagering Records Across the Boards
By Election Day, PredictIt saw more than 117 million shares being traded, compared to 47 million 4 years ago for the contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton. The platform even crashed under the huge interest from bettors, as the odds for Trump started moving from underdog to favorite to win the elections.
London-based betting exchange Betfair also saw a lot of gambling action, having booked in excess of $400 million by the time the polls closed. The amount of bets grew to $600 million by the next day, more than doubling the $258 million in 2016. Betfair accepted a $1.32 million bet on Biden from an undisclosed bettor, which is currently winning $2 million.
Action Still Ongoing
PredictIt is not closing its markets for the contest until recounts and litigation is completed, which could possibly mean delays of weeks or even months. And the action there continues as Trump’s shares doubled in price reaching $0.16 from the low of $0.08 on November 7.
Betfair is also not in a hurry to declare the winner of the contest, especially in the light of the 2016 industry precedent, when Irish bookmaker Paddy Power decided to pay more than $1 million even before Election Day to bets on Hillary Clinton, a decision that backfired on the gambling company.
“We will only settle the markets when there is certainty around which candidate has the most projected Electoral College votes.”
Official statement, Betfair
There was at least one bookmaker who decided the contest was over and paid out winning on bets for Biden. Australian sports book operator SportsBet which has seen more than $1 billion in wagers and nearly 80% of these were for Trump, paid $23 million to bets on the former Obama Vice-President, even before vote counting was not completed.