The Presidential race is the most noted political event in American history. Every four years, many Republican, Democrat, and third-party candidates spend hundreds of days and vast financial resources to campaign for the chance to sit in the Oval Office. The Presidential election is the perfect opportunity to profit from placing political bets at international betting sites.

Gambling on Presidential elections not only allows the public to invest in the outcome of a major political event, but it also reveals the direction in which the public truly believes that the country is moving. For campaign managers, election odds are often far more informative than polling results. In this portion of our politics and betting guide, you will gain knowledge on key factors to consider when betting on Presidential election outcomes.

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Current Presidential Election Odds - 2024

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Is It Legal To Bet On The Presidential Election?

Legal scale iconYes, betting on political election outcomes can be done legally, but domestic sportsbooks have traditionally not accepted wagers in this category. To lay some action on politics, you must do so at an overseas betting site like the sportsbooks that are recommended in this guide. Federal and state gambling laws have no domain or regulatory authority over sportsbooks operating overseas and offering their services to US bettors.

In addition to Presidential elections, it is also legal to bet on Senate elections, House of Representative elections, and Gubernatorial elections through licensed offshore sportsbooks in 48 US states, excluding Connecticut and Washington. While all the top books will take CT and WA members – and despite the fact that no resident of either state has ever been fined or arrested for gambling online – we recommend abiding by all local laws and proceeding only at your own risk.

2020 Republican Candidates

  • Donald Trump (incumbent)

2020 Democratic Candidates

  • Joe Biden (presumptive nominee)

While the field for the 2020 Democratic nomination was the deepest in history with nearly 30 candidates, after Super Tuesday, the race was down to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Shortly thereafter, Sanders dropped out, making Biden the presumptive nominee. Both Biden and Trump have been featured as heavy favorites during the 2020 election, with both pulling even as November closes in.

Key Factors To Consider When Betting On Presidential Elections

Two key factors to consider when determining the best possible outcome of Presidential elections are the popular vote outcome and the electoral college tally.

Popular Vote

Popular votes are widely considered as the collective voice of the people. Ideally, the candidate that wins the majority of the popular vote is the candidate that wins the Presidency. However, there have been four elections, including the very recent 2016 Presidential election, in which the odds have tipped in the favor of the other candidate due to the electoral college.

This, of course, is why the electoral college exists. Otherwise, densely populated states will always wield more voting control than rural areas, which goes against the premise of the United States as a constitutional republic. For example, while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 (65.9 million to 63 million), Donald Trump won 30 states compared to Clinton's 20. Further, Trump won 2626 US counties compared to only 487 for Clinton.

Electoral College

The founders of this nation created the electoral college because they believed that the popular vote should not be able to directly determine the Presidential winner. In the electoral college system, each of the 538 electors gets assigned to states based on population. If the majority of the popular vote in a state is for a specific candidate, then the winner takes all electors of that state.

Electors pledge but are not required to choose the Presidential candidate that the people of their state voted for. Clearly, the electoral college system throws a wrench into the political betting odds, as the electoral college has directly contradicted the popular vote on multiple occasions.

Again, however, this is by design, as it keeps a small number of high-population states from deciding elections for a much larger number of sparsely populated states. Thus, the Presidential pick of the electoral college prevails, and for this reason, it is important to consider the function of the electoral college before placing any political bet on the Presidency.

Other Factors

Other factors to consider when gambling on US politics are historic trends of political parties that win, how likely it is for those parties to prevail again, the state of the national economy, the political climate in general, each candidate's stance on political issues of the day, how the majority of people perceive each candidate, how well the candidate appeals to their audience, how wide and far-reaching the platform and views of the candidate has, and so on.

Note that the popular vote and majority public opinion are not the sole influencers of elections. In the next election and many to come, it is important to observe trends in the polls while keeping an eye on the political strategies of each candidate as they climb their respective ladders in the primaries and face off in the general.

It is also critically important for bettors to focus on so-called swing states. These states, otherwise called "Purple States," have a tendency to swing between favoring Democrats and Republicans, and they're where most Presidential hopefuls spend the majority of their time campaigning.

Futures Betting

A very popular type of bet to place months or even years in advance is a futures bet. Futures bets are a great way to reap a very sizable payout while risking very little money. To place a Presidential futures bet, for example, you simply pick from a long list of people that could possibly run for the Presidency.

When the 2020 Democratic campaign first got underway, there were nearly 30 candidates on the political futures odds boards. Most of them had immense winnings attached, and even the favorites – like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden – had lines with substantial payouts. As the list shortened with candidates dropping out, however, everyone's odds shrunk, and the payouts did, too. At many sites, at the beginning of the cycle, a futures bet on Joe Biden's election odds was trending at +1000 or more. Now that he's the DNC's nominee, his odds to win are hovering at about +120. That's a massive difference for bettors, and it's what makes futures betting so exciting – and profitable!

To win a futures bet, you must determine the level of success that these possible candidates could have with their associated political parties. On this note, consider whether the individual is affiliated with the Republican party, Democratic party, or another third party to determine their chances to succeed and earn a party nomination. Another thing to consider is which political party the incumbent President is a member of and/or whether he or she is eligible for another term. Incumbents are hard to beat, and not all parties support their own potential candidates equally. Just ask Tulsi Gabbard!

Another tip is to consider the general success that the candidate has enjoyed throughout his or her career, whether political or not. Although an individual may not have political experience, such as Trump, they may win the election due to their business savvy as we saw in the 2016 general election. As new generations emerge, what may have appealed to the public in years past may not have the same effect during future elections.

Essentially, betting on Presidential elections can be very profitable when employing proper strategies and understanding how various factors influence election outcomes. Incorporate the information in this section into betting strategies to better your odds of earning winnings when betting on the 2020 Presidential election.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the next presidential election?

The next Presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020. While the coronavirus US outbreak has derailed many primary elections and caused massive rescheduling, the 2020 general election is so far on track to go ahead at the time and date planned.

2. When will we know who is running for president?

During each Presidential race, we will find out who the final candidates for consideration are after each party holds its national convention in the summer. However, for the 2020 election, incumbent Donald Trump is running unopposed on the GOP side, so his nomination has been known for months. Joe Biden is the nominee for the Democratic Party, which was revealed at the Democratic National Convention in August of 2020.

3. Are there political prop bets during the Presidential campaign?

Absolutely. There is always a multitude of political prop bets to choose from during the Presidential campaign and even after the nominees are chosen for each party. Your sportsbook updates its selection of political props regularly, so you should always check in to see what new lines – or shifted lines – are available.

4. Are there any betting odds currently available for the 2020 Presidential election?

Yes! You can bet on a host of lines revolving around the 2020 general election, including Presidential odds, debate odds, and more. Right now, for the 2020 Presidential election itself, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are close to even at every offshore sportsbook, usually within a margin of 10 to 20 points.