Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize the 2020 election results has created a major issue for bookies worldwide. Anyone with money on Biden is clamoring for their payout, while those who put their dollars on Trump want to wait until the rest of his lawsuits run their course.
This election was an enormous betting event in a year in which there weren’t nearly as many sporting events to lose money on. Betfair alone is sitting on $600 million in election-bets, and they’re not even a U.S. company.
We can estimate unpaid bets worldwide running into the low billions.
These Schrodinger’s betting slips will remain unpaid until either Trump sees that the writing is on the wall — there is a cliché made fresh by aptness — or we get to December 8th. The 8th is the “safe harbor” deadline by which time any issues with the vote need to be resolved.
When Donald Trump found out he had lost the election he was golfing. He found himself returning to the White House to crowds celebrating his downfall. His home city of New York resounded to pots and pans celebrating the beginning of the end for the reality T.V. star and serial corporate bankrupt.
Every state has counted their ballots. Georgia’s audit is proceeding as expected. So far no sign of fraud and no significant change in the proportion of votes. An extra 2,500 ballots being found and added to the count but as they were a roughly 60-40 split to Trump they didn’t do much to the overall count.
The 2020 U.S. election has been called by every major news network. In a normal election year, this would be game over.
But unlike every sitting presidential election loser in living memory, including Hillary Clinton, who beat Trump in the popular vote, Trump has opted not to concede. Instead, he has been making unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and filed lawsuits in a dozen states.
Adam Burns, sportsbook manager of BetOnline, told the New York Post that “people who bet on Trump say it is not over. People who bet on Biden say it is. This makes for a tricky situation where we have to be sure. It’s not like a football game.”
The waiting game
Bookies are cautious this time around. In 2016, PaddyPower paid out $1 million in Clinton-to-win bets before the results were in. No one is making that mistake this time around.
Even after the 8th, there’s a chance that Trump could try and drag this out. If he does, there are a few other key dates in the election process that might resolve this impasse.
Firstly there is December 14th. This is the day the electors gather to cast their votes. Electors are the people who actually choose the president. This year they include Clinton, who is an elector for New York.
The next key date is January 6th, 2021. That is when the electors’ votes are counted and officially declared.
After that, it is a matter of waiting until Biden swears in at midday on January 20th.
When that finally happens, the bookies will have to cough up. And Trump’s best bet at staying in the White House will be a Russian invasion. Or hiding from the Secret Service in a West Wing cloakroom.
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