2020 will be nothing short of a momentous year in elections as Americans remain divided at the polls. The 2020 Presidential election is the most anticipated of all time, but the general will also include the Senate elections, House elections, and many Gubernatorial races which could drastically change the political face of the United States. With such weight on this upcoming election, political betting on candidates and parties has become increasingly popular.
This guide to betting on US politics will provide critical knowledge about the political gambling arena and will also provide the necessary tools to make informed wagers through secure, legal online sportsbooks operating offshore. You'll be able to bet on Trump, get Democratic candidate odds, wager on political debates, make picks about which politician will win each state, put money on the general election outcome, and much more.
Is Betting on Politics Legal in the USA?
Political wagering is legal in the United States, but not at any domestic sportsbook. Since the Professional Amateur and Sports Protection Act (PASPA, 1992) was deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court on May 14, 2018, states have been given the right to legalize, regulate, and license sportsbooks within their borders. However, no state offers political betting odds of any kind. Even in Nevada, where casinos regularly advertise "Vegas election odds," this is just marketing to get people into their normal sportsbooks. The only places you can legally wager on politics are the established offshore betting sites we recommend here.
US federal gambling laws have no jurisdiction over offshore sportsbooks, and these laws don't target individual gamblers in any way. As a result, you are free to sign up with any overseas sportsbook that accepts US members and wager real money on politics. That said, two states – WA and CT – have laws barring all online gambling. Though these laws are historically unenforced and all offshore sportsbooks take members from both states, we recommend abiding by all local mandates.
US Elections To Bet On
- Presidential Race - Because these races take place only once every four years, the public has plenty of time to grapple with political betting odds before placing wagers on the next President Elect.
- Senate Races - As United States Senators are up for election every six years, off-year elections are gaining momentum in the political betting industry.
- House Races - The upcoming 2020 US House election will see all 435 seats up for grabs. This is an exciting market within the gambling arena, as election predictions and voting probabilities exist for a massive number of races.
- Gubernatorial Races - On November 3, 2020, 11 states and two US territories will hold gubernatorial elections. You may not find odds on all of them, but several races – like those in Montana and North Carolina – should be popular enough to garner plenty of action online.
U.S. 2020 Presidential Election, Candidate, Party Odds & Prop Bets
Factors to Consider When Placing a Political Bet
The key to betting on elections is wagering based on logic rather than emotion. Therefore, bets should not be placed solely on a personal desired outcome, but rather on the most probable outcome based on your research and the most informed opinion of the event most likely to occur. Sometimes the wisest wager may go against what one may wish to happen. For this reason, try to consider all possible factors and conduct adequate research before placing any wager on political outcomes.
Types of Political Betting
There are many types of political bets that can be placed. A few examples of the kinds of wagers you'll find at offshore election betting sites include straight bets, futures bets, prop bets, and parlays.
- Straight Bets: Straight bets (aka straight moneyline bets or straight-up bets) are the most basic betting lines, typically giving gamblers a choice between just two outcomes. An example of a straight bet would be to pick which of two candidates will win the 2020 Presidential election.
- Futures Bets: Futures are wagers that are placed far in advance. Political futures bets have very high payouts since there is little information available to ensure that an informed wager is placed. A popular political future in 2020 is to pick the candidate Joe Biden will select as his Vice Presidential running mate. Futures boards can have dozens of choices with widely varying odds.
- Prop Bets: Political props are bets that may be placed on almost anything. You can wager on whether or not Trump will tweet during a debate, who the next Supreme Court Justice to retire will be, whether or not "Russia" or "Ukraine" will be mentioned in a speech, and so on. The options – and the odds – are limited only by your sportsbook's imagination. Trump impeachment odds and Trump resignation odds are particularly popular examples of political prop bets.
- Parlay Bets: Generally, a parlay bet is just a betting ticket with two or more separate wagers on it, where all outcomes must hit in order for the ticket to be graded a winner. Parlays have higher payouts than the totals of their constituent parts wagered on individually. Another kind of political parlay bet is to wager on the exact placement of candidates in ranking order. To win such a bet, each candidate must have the corresponding predicted rank at the end of the election in question. In horse racing (to which elections are often compared), a wager like this might be called a trifecta or superfecta.
FAQs About Betting On United States Politics
1. What is political betting?
Political betting is wagering money on or against a specific outcome related to a political race, event, or action. Election betting and political betting are both considered entertainment gambling markets, and currently, no US-based sportsbook offers these. Further, betting on politics is outlawed in many states, and it's unavailable in every state. To bet on politics and elections, you must use a reputable offshore sportsbook like any of those featured here.
2. What is a predictive market?
A predictive market is a space in which speculators bet on the possible outcomes of future events. Many companies utilize analytics within these predictive markets to study behavioral patterns and ultimately determine which marketing strategies have the highest probabilities of success. Other common names for predictive markets include prediction markets and futures markets. While there are online political prediction markets (i.e. PredictIt), these are not sportsbooks and they don't offer typical election betting opportunities.
3. How do I know if an online sportsbook is safe?
To determine whether or not an offshore sports betting site is credible, the most important things to look for are their licensing credentials, compliance certifications, and the agency that administers their regulatory oversight. Domestic online sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar betting lounges must be operating within states that have legalized sports betting, and only bettors inside these states' borders may wager with the bookmakers there. Interstate online sports betting is not legal in the United States (per the Wire Act of 1961).
Offshore sportsbooks must also be operating as licensed providers legally within the countries where such books are registered. In addition, sophisticated security profiles that include advanced data encryption, firewall protection, and anti-virus software should be in place to protect players and the site itself. Offshore books can and do accept legal wagers on politics, entertainment, and various other markets that US-based books don't offer.
4. How do betting odds work?
Betting odds are strategically configured so that the bookmaker does not lose any money while still being able to pay out everyone that hit on a given bet. The odds are structured so that high-risk bets yield high payouts and low-risk bets yield low payouts. Adjusting the odds in this manner encourages risk takers to bet on improbable events knowing that there is a great chance that their money will be lost. Sportsbooks use these losses to help defray the costs of winning wagers.
Using the 2016 Presidential elections as an example, if everyone bet $500 that Donald Trump would win the November general – and it was clearly foreseeable that he would win – then the bookmakers would have lost a lot of money, going deep into the red on Orange. However, since it was not obvious that Trump would win the election, the people that bet on Trump’s triumph had enormous payouts as the odds of him winning the election were low right up through election night itself.
5. Can I bet on specific political issues?
Specific political issues and events can be wagered upon in the form of prop bets. A very popular political prop bet that is frequently wagered upon is whether or not Trump will be impeached (again). You can easily find Trump impeachment odds and other props online, like which member of the Trump administration will be fired next, how many times Trump will tweet on a given day, debate odds, and even things like the next country to declare war on the United States.
6. Do other markets intersect with political betting?
There are many markets that intersect with political betting. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement intersected with sports when NFL players began taking a knee during the National Anthem as a silent form of protest against police brutality. Since Trump applied pressure to NFL leadership to take a stand against this form of protest, the sports gambling industry intersected with the political gambling market in an unprecedented form.
Onlookers at the time could place futures bets on various events such as whether Trump would use certain phrases in his speeches, such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter”. Other props to place included whether Trump would attend the Super Bowl, as well as whether any players in the big game would kneel or extend a "Black Power" first during the National Anthem.
7. How often do political elections, such as Presidential elections, US House elections, US Senate elections, and Gubernatorial elections occur?
Presidential elections and gubernatorial elections occur every four years, while House elections occur every two years and Senate elections occur every six years. However, not all seats in all cycles are up at the same time. In 2020, all 435 seats of the US House of Representatives are up for election, whereas only 33 Senate seats and 11 governorships are being contested this time around.
8. In what states is it legal to gamble on politics?
In regards to domestic political betting, that market doesn't exist. No US state has legalized election betting or political betting in any capacity. However, US residents are free to wager on politics at offshore betting sites, with on WA and CT residents legally restricted from doing so.
In Washington and Connecticut, there are state laws on the books that bar all online gambling, but every offshore sportsbook will accept members from these states at 18 and up. However, even though neither state enforces these laws or polices them in any way, we still recommend that you abide by all local mandates and sign up only at your own risk.
9. What are some reputable sites for political betting?
There are only a handful of truly credible websites through which legal political wagering takes place. Check the sites listed within this betting guide for links to the best online election betting sportsbooks, as we've vetted each one rigorously and can attest to their excellent reputations in the industry.