2020 will be nothing short of a momentous year in elections as Americans remain divided at the polls. The 2020 Election year will hold the Presidential Election and numerous state General elections which will 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, betting on whether various candidates and parties show promise has and will 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 and legally sanctioned licensed offshore online sportsbooks.

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Is Betting on Politics Legal in the USA?

Legal scale iconPolitical wagering is legal in the United States, domestic wagering options are permitted in state jurisdictions with legalized and regulated sports gambling. Since the Professional Amateur and Sports Protection Act was recently deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, states have been given free rein to legalize, regulate, and license sportsbooks within their borders and offer political betting lines. Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have legalized and licensed sportsbook operations and wagering in their respective states, thereby allowing political betting. States that have legalized sports-related gambling but have not launched their gambling operations include Arkansas.

States that are anticipating legalization of sportsbook gambling soon include Louisiana, Connecticut, Missouri, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, South Carolina, California, Iowa, Illinois, D.C., Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, and New York.

It is also legal to place political bets at sportsbooks that are licensed and hosted offshore because the United States's federal government has no law prohibiting licensed offshore gambling. Most all US residents can wager on politics through licensed offshore sportsbooks, except for those who live in Washington or Connecticut as these states have specifically outlawed licensed offshore gambling for their residents.

Some futures markets, such as PredictIt and the Iowa Electronics Markets, were always exempt from the previous federal ban of political betting as the predictive analytics is valuable for research.

US Elections To Bet On

  • Presidential Race - Occurring every four years, the public has years 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 election will see all 435 seats up for elections. This is an exciting race within the gambling arena as election predictions and voting probabilities reign supreme.
  • Gubernatorial Races - On November 3rd, 2020, eleven states and two United States territories will hold gubernatorial elections.

U.S. 2020 Presidential Election, Candidate, Party Odds & Prop Bets

Factors to Consider When Placing a Political Bet

The key to betting on political 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 be against what one may wish to happen.

For this reason, try to consider all possible factors and conduct much research before placing a wager on political elections.

Types of Political Betting

There are many types of political bets that can be placed. A few examples of the types of bets that can be placed include: Moneyline bets, parlay bets, futures bets, prop bets, and straight up bets.

  • Straight Up Bets: These are the most basic form of placing wagers, betting between who wins and who loses.
  • Parlay Bets: Betting on the placement of candidates in ranking order. To win a parlay bet, each candidate must have the corresponding predicted rank at the end of the election.
  • Futures Bets: Wagers that are placed far in advance. Futures bets have considerably high payouts since there is little information available to ensure an informed wager is placed.
  • Prop Bets: Political bets that may be placed on actions of a public official.

FAQs About Betting on United States Politics

1. What is political betting?

Political betting is wagering money towards or against a specific outcome relevant to a political race, event, or action. When using a site such as PredictIt, money wagered is invested in the stock of the outcome. If the event happens in favor of the side upon which the wager is made, then profit is won and collected. If the outcome wagered upon does not occur, then the money placed on that outcome is lost.

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 predictive analytics within these predictive markets to study behavioral patterns and ultimately determine which marketing strategies have the highest probability of success. Other common names of predictive markets include prediction markets and futures markets.

3. How do I know if an online sportsbook is safe?

To determine that a gambling site is credible, the most important credentials to look for is their licensing, compliance certifications, and who administers their regulatory oversight. Domestic sportsbooks operating online or offline must be operating within a region that has legalized state licensed sportsbook gambling.

Offshore sportsbooks must also be operating as a licensed provider legally within the industry of a nation that has specifically legalized sports betting entertainment. In addition, a sophisticated security profile that includes advanced data encryption, firewall protection, and anti-virus software should be in place to protect players and the site itself.

4. How do betting odds work?

Betting odds are very strategically configured so that the bookmaker does not lose any money while still being able to pay the persons that won the bet. The odds are fixed so that high-risk bets yield high payouts and low-risk bets yield low payouts. Fixing the odds in this manner encourages risk takers to bet on the improbable event knowing that there is a great chance that the money will be lost.

Using the recent presidential elections as an example, if everyone bet $500 that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election, and it was clearly foreseeable that he would win, then the bookmakers would have lost a lot of money. However, since it was not clearly foreseeable that Trump would win the election, the people that bet on Trump’s triumph had an enormous payout as the odds of him winning the presidential election was low and unforeseeable until the final moments of the election.

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 prop bet that is frequently wagered upon is whether Trump will be impeached. Another prop bet may include whether Trump will last his first two years in Office or be re-elected.

6. Do other markets intersect with political betting?

There are many markets that intersect with political betting. For example, the Black Lives Matter campaign 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 officials 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 will use certain phrases in his speeches such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter”. Another prop bet to place was whether Trump would attend the National Football League Super Bowl.

7. How often do political elections, such as presidential elections, house elections, Senate elections, and gubernatorial elections occur?

Presidential elections and gubernatorial elections occur every four years. House elections occur every two years. Senate elections occur every six years.

8. In what states is it legal to gamble on politics?

In regards to domestic political betting, it is legal to gamble on politics in any state that already allows domestic sports gambling, meaning they have already legalized sportsbooks within their state’s borders or have no specific laws preventing residents from accessing licensed offshore sportsbooks. States allowing domestic sports gambling include Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia,  Delaware, Mississippi, and New Jersey. States that have legalized sports-related gambling but have yet to launch avenues for political betting include Arkansas.

In regards to licensed offshore sports betting, residents from Connecticut and the state of Washington are not permitted to access these platforms according to state law. There are no state or federal gambling laws that prohibit US residents from placing political bets at licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks accepting bets online however, meaning so long as the state you reside in does not specifically prohibit licensed offshore wagering you are good to go.

9. What are some reputable sites for political betting?

There are many credible websites through which political wagering takes place. Check the sites listed within this betting guide for links to reputable companies through which to place your wagers.