Last October SBC covered the betting phenomenon of Donald Trump who had shaken up bookmaker political markets. His surprise US Election victory rocked global politics, the media, public and bookmakers who now have to adapt to a Trump Presidency and Administration.
Following the first two months of Trump’s volatile presidency, SBC’s latest ‘Bookies Corner’ asks bookmakers and industry stakeholders how they should approach and react to President Trump as a reality!
SBC: As a political betting market, how should bookmakers cover Donald Trump’s presidency? Are certain subject matters ‘off the table’ (immigration, the wall, gender rights, etc…)
Matthew Shaddick (Ladbrokes) : Trump’s political actions are obviously the subject of intense interest and speculation, which is normally something which suits betting markets very nicely. I don’t really have any ethical concerns about betting on his program for government or legislative success. The problems are more ones of definition and clarity. Sure, we could put a market up on whether he actually will “build a wall”, but what would specifically count as success or failure here and how long are the timescales?
There is so much room for ambiguity in settling these sorts of markets, that we’re generally going to steer clear of betting on policy specifics. In truth, I don’t believe there is a great deal of demand for betting on such things anyway. I can see how they might be good for PR purposes but, in reality, these are not going to be very liquid markets. I’d rather avoid making any claims about important subjects based on a few people betting relatively small amounts of money, even if some media outlets might bite.
SBC: Has Trump’s surprise 2016 US victory changed industry perspective of how political betting markets should be structured and analysed?
Lee Price (Paddy Power): Donald Trump becoming President was the equivalent of Leicester City winning the Premier League for us, as it came from nowhere.
Trump markets have spawned huge interest from the public and our punters and ever since Donald has been a magnet for bettors looking for something different. So much so, we now have more than 100 betting specials just around the President – he is, by far, our most prolific and popular novelties market online. Anything from odds on Trump to gift good pal Putin Alaska, in a sign of friendship, to the President declaring that aliens are real have now been priced up for our specialist Trump Hub.
Put simply…in terms of political betting Trump has torn up the rulebook…much like his politics!
SBC: At present, the US is a divided nation, can bookmakers and betting stakeholders really trust any polls reflecting President Trump’s popularity? Especially given his November 2016 victory…
Adam Drummond (Opinium): “Hillary Clinton’s final margin in the popular vote was almost exactly what national polls suggested it would be at around 2-3% and 2.9 million votes. National polls in 2016 were actually more accurate than in 2012 but the vagaries of the US electoral college and extremely close margins in key states gave Donald Trump victory.”
“Polls aren’t perfect but they’re the best way anybody has of measuring public opinion. Compared to the nightmare that betting markets and bookies had with political predictions last year, they’re still the most reliable guide to electoral outcomes when read in appropriate context such as taking an average of different organisations with different methods and approaches.”
“Hillary Clinton’s expected victory in the swing states was within the margin of error, Donald Trump being one of the least popular new presidents since polling began is not.”