On Tuesday, voters in America weren’t just choosing who is going to be their President over the next four years; in some states, they were also deciding the future of gambling. In three states, voters decided to make sports betting legal. Three other states saw their votes okaying the expansion of casino gambling laws.
On the subject of 2020 US Elections, sportsbooks around the world have received bets worth approximately 1 billion dollars. The UK-based betting exchange Betfair accepted over $260 million in bets on either Trump or Biden. Over in Australia, online sportsbook Sportsbet paid out $23 million to bettors who backed Joe Biden. They did it despite the fact that the votes were still being counted all over America.
At the moment of writing, Trump still has a chance to secure his second term in the White House. That is something which would make one bettor extremely happy. An unnamed player has placed a $5 million bet on Trump at a Curacao-based sportsbook.
US Voters Approve Sports Betting in Three States
In three states – Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota – voters decided to give the green light to the legalization of sports betting. What this means is that in 2021, nearly half of the states in the Union are going to be betting-friendly areas.
Considering the financial stresses on all states, it's mind-boggling that almost half of them have either dead or no legislation re legalized sports betting. And still only 13 w/ mobile/online. 🤔(map from @AmericanGaming) #sportsbiz #CUSDig pic.twitter.com/MZCnGBa9VQ
— Tom Richardson (@ConvergenceTR) October 12, 2020
Less than three years ago, Nevada was the only state where betting was possible. However, in 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, practically making sports betting legal on the federal level. It left the final decision to each individual state.
Online sports betting was not on the ballot on Tuesday. What this means is that this form of gambling will remain legal only in a handful of states.
Casino Gaming Expands in Three More States
Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia – these are the three states that voted on Tuesday to expand the casino gambling landscape. In Colorado, voters okayed the expansion of the list of available games at casinos, adding roulette and craps to the menu.
They also decided to increase the wagering limits, allowing gamblers to go over the $100 mark, which was set back in 2008. Before that, Colorado gamblers couldn’t wager more than $5 on individual bets.
In Nebraska, voters decided to allow the inception of racinos in the state. From now on, racetracks in Nebraska will be allowed to run certain casino games on their premises, effectively turning their venues into racinos.
Over in Virginia, the Election results will allow the launch of land-based casinos in four different locations.
What the Results of US Elections Mean for Online Gaming?
Although voters did not vote on anything related to US online casinos, the results of the 2020 Elections could have a significant impact on the future of this industry. Not only are the results from the six aforementioned states are paving the road to the expansion of internet gambling, but the outcome of the Presidential Election could also have a major influence over its destiny.
The thing is that Donald Trump’s #1 backer in the 2020 campaign was Sheldon Adelson. The Las Vegas Sands owner and his wife donated a total of $76.2 million to Preserve America and Trump Victory. The Adelson family is famously among the biggest opponents of online gaming.
Adelson is not the only land-casino owner who’s backed Trump. The widow of Dr. Irving Moskowitz, Cherna, who is the CEO of Hawaiian Gardens Casino near Long Beach in California, also donated over a million to Trump’s efforts.
Sportsbooks Report 1 Billion Dollars’ Worth of Bets on US Election
The world’s biggest betting exchange, Betfair, has reported that the record for the largest single betting event on their platform has been broken. With bets worth $260 million in total, the Trump vs. Biden matchup is the most popular event in Betfair’s history.
Sportsbooks from all around the world also reported a big influx of bets ahead of the November 3 Election. It is estimated that the event has generated over 1$ billion in bets around the globe.
One of the countries where betting on this event was not possible is the United States. According to the gambling laws of this country, it’s not allowed for sportsbooks to offer prop bets. A bet that belongs to this category is the one focused on the Presidential Elections. As a result, American bettors changed their course from US-based sportsbooks to those based offshore.
Big Bets on Trump in Offshore Sportsbooks
As we discussed in a news recap from a couple of weeks back, offshore sportsbooks had been handling millions of dollars in Election bets. In October, they received more bets than they did in February, ahead of the Super Bowl.
American bettors have been their main customers. However, people from other parts of the world have also placed their bets at offshore sportsbooks in a recent couple of weeks. The reason is simple – the odds on the 2020 Elections were far better at offshore sportsbooks than anywhere else.
That fact prompted an unnamed British bettor to put $5 million on Donald Trump securing another four years in the office. His bet became the highest-ever political wager in the history of betting. With the odds of +200, the bettor had a potential $15 million payout.
Although the voters are still being counted, it’s very likely that the Trump-loving Brit has lost his $5 million. Joe Biden’s current lead seems unbeatable. That is something that made an Australian sportsbook decide to pay out the Biden bettors in advance.
Australian Sportsbooks Pays Out Biden Bets Early
Australian sportsbook Sportsbet has called the 2020 Election early by paying-out those who backed Joe Biden. Sportsbet started with the early payouts on Wednesday afternoon US Time. At the time, some sportsbooks were still accepting bets on the outcome of the Election.
WE'RE CALLING IT! We're paying out early on JOE BIDEN to win the US Election! #USElection2020 pic.twitter.com/EBcvLdsmyk
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) November 5, 2020
According to the sportsbook itself, they’ve paid out a total of about $23 million so far. The money went to more than 100,000 bettors who put their money on the Democratic nominee.
This comes as a sort of a surprise, given the fact that Irish sportsbook Paddy Power did basically the same in 2016. Hillary Clinton was expected to win by a landslide four years ago, which prompted the betting company to go with early payouts. Paddy Power paid $5 million to those bettors who had backed her to become the first female US President. Unfortunately for the sportsbook, they did it too prematurely, before all the votes had been counted.
Whether the same faith awaits Sportsbet remains to be seen. At the moment of writing, it definitely does not seem so.