The 2020 US election is shaping up to be the biggest betting event of all time, with one player placing a record-breaking £1m bet on a victory for the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
People were still rushing to place bets on Monday on the eve of the election and Matthew Shaddick, the head of political betting at Ladbrokes Coral Group, said it estimated about £1bn would be wagered globally across the industry.
Donald Trump’s odds of re-election grew slightly over the weekend, but Biden remained a clear favourite in online betting markets. Betters on the British exchange Smarkets give Biden a 65% chance of winning, while Trump’s prospects have improved to 35% from 34%.
Betfair said it also recorded an improvement in Trump’s odds, at the same level. One person had placed £1m on Biden, Betfair said, in the biggest political bet of all time. If Biden wins, the player will bag £1.54m.
The former vice-president has a substantial lead in national opinion polls, although the contest is slightly closer in the battleground states that are likely to decide the race.
“Florida is one where the polls suggest Biden is the more likely winner, but the [betting] markets have Trump as favourite [there],” Shaddick said. “The GOP have tended to overperform the polls quite regularly in that state.”
The election is on track to be by far the biggest betting event, with £271m bet so far, Betfair said. Most of the big-money betting occurs outside the US as betting on politics is illegal there.