Gamblers across the world are waiting as wagering websites refuse to call the presidential election in President-elect Joe Biden’s favor, despite news outlets doing so.
This year’s election was an unprecedented event in the world of betting, with more people than ever shelling out funds. While political gambling is technically illegal in the United States, Britain-based wagering website Betfair reportedly has more than $600 million tied up pending President Trump’s myriad lawsuits and legal maneuvering in key battleground states.
“We still have not graded a winner,” Adam Burns, sportsbook manager of BetOnline, told the New York Post.
No state has yet officially certified its results for the presidential election, and Trump’s reelection campaign has worked overtime to barnstorm both state and federal courts with litigation in a last-ditch effort to achieve victory.
And while major news networks might have called the election, betting sites are erring on the side of caution given Trump’s insistence that the race is still up in the air.
“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,” Burns said in reference to the binary nature of sports.
And while hundreds of millions of dollars are in limbo, some people have more floating around than others.
One British gambler, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly placed a $5 million wager that Trump would serve another term. The mystery bettor used private bookmakers registered on the Caribbean island of Curacao to make the wager, according to the Sun.
On the political flip side, a high-rolling gambler, whose identity has also not been revealed, placed a $1.32 million wager with Betfair that the former vice president would come out on top. With a Biden victory comes a $2 million payout.
There is one legal way to bet on politics in the U.S., through a website called PredictIt, which was granted an exemption by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The website saw record levels of trading this year, with 117 million shares traded on Election Day, compared to only 47 million during the last presidential contest.
Brandi Travis, chief marketing officer for Aristotle International, a support firm for PredictIt, told Bloomberg it could be a while before election-related markets finally settle. She said the New Zealand-based betting site would wait until recounts and lawsuits are finished before declaring a winner.
“Once we have all the electoral counts in and we see that there is a legitimate winner, we’ll suspend the market,” Travis said, “but until we’re sure, we’re not going to pay out.”
Biden leads Trump nationally by about 5.3 million votes. In terms of the Electoral College, Biden leads with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, according to the Associated Press.
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