Trump and his motley crew of voter fraud lawyers are not the only ones refusing to concede the 2020 Presidential election. Online gambling sites that offered political prop bets on Joe Biden versus Donald Trump also hesitate to make any payouts.
The numbers show that this election may have well been one of the single most bet on events in history, outshining other incredibly high-action gambling events such as the NFL Superbowl and the FIFA World Cup. The betting sites likely sit on over one billion total wagered dollars.
So why not payout bettors? Are the sportsbooks loyal Trump superfans? Most likely not. It all comes down to the money.
Historically, sportsbooks have no problems coughing up the big bucks on high-action betting lines. They must. The bookies are contractually obligated to make those payouts when a Superbowl goes awry or when there is a UFC upset.
Not just contracts, but the whole spirit of sports betting itself hinges on such a phenomenon. Everyone loves a good David and Goliath story, like when Buster Douglas defied 42-1 odds by knocking out Mike Tyson in 1990. Sporting moments like these is one of the reasons people go out to bet in the first place.
But much to the American public’s dismay, the 2020 Presidential election is not a simple one-two punch. “We still have not graded a winner. People who bet Trump say it is not over. People who bet Biden say it is. This makes for a tricky situation where we have to be sure. It’s not like a football game,” Adam Burns, BetOnline’s sportsbook manager, told the New York Post.
The NYP reported that just a few weeks before November 3rd, 2o2o, one political bettor wagered $1.3 million on Joe Biden, and today awaits a $1.9 million payout from BetOnline.
Many of the online sportsbooks are holding out to avoid a 2016 Presidential election payout debacle. In 2016, Ireland-based gambling site PaddyPower made premature payments on Hillary Clinton as the winner and ended up taking a five-million-dollar bath. One of our favorite sportsbooks, Bovada, echoed the rationale many sportsbooks are currently using on their Twitter.
An update on #Election2020 https://t.co/P7amjXJC2h— Bovada (@BovadaOfficial) November 8, 2020
“If Biden comes in, it’s a big win for us,” said Adam Burns, siting that BetOnline’s bettors strongly favored Trump. “If Trump is declared the winner, we will take a bath. It will not be a happy day here.”
High action from poll-mocking Trump loyalists has many sportsbooks holding out for a clear Biden victory, but they are unwilling to take any chances declaring a premature winner. For now, bettors will have to wait.