State Primary And Caucus Betting
One of the most exciting political betting markets presents itself when primary season gets underway in the leadup to a Presidential election. This is always true for the opposition party facing down an incumbent, but action is even more lively when the sitting POTUS is term-limited and both parties have full fields of candidates.
If you’re interested in placing political wagers, you’ll find that you can’t actually put money on Vegas election odds. While Nevada bookmakers do advertise hypothetical betting lines on political races and outcomes, they do so as a way to capitalize on the news cycle and promote the other sports they can actually take money on. For political betting, offshore sportsbooks are the only game in town.
That said, the odds you’ll find at offshore online sportsbooks are always presented in the standard Vegas style, with most politics bets being formatted like familiar straights, futures, and props that you’d find on football and basketball matchups. Politics is often likened to sport, after all, and betting on it is fundamentally similar.
Where To Bet On 2024 Primary Elections And Caucuses
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Is It Legal To Vote On Vegas Odds For Primaries and Caucuses?
If you want to bet on state primary elections and caucuses, you can legally do so at any offshore sportsbook that offers state election odds. Just remember that you cannot actually bet on Vegas election odds in Vegas, as Nevada – and all other US states – currently bar domestic political wagering.
That said, it's not actually illegal to wager on politics domestically. In Nevada, for example, there is no law barring the practice, but tradition and Nevada Gaming Control Board mandates prevent bettors from wagering on political elections, political props, and all manner of entertainment odds.
Most states that have legalized sports betting follow NV’s model, and that’s why we’ve yet to find any state-based book that actually takes election bets. Fortunately, that’s a moot point because it remains safe and legal to bet on politics at offshore betting sites like those listed here.
Current Caucus And Primary Election Odds
What Are State Primaries?
Primary elections are state-by-state events where a party’s Presidential candidates are voted on. These are handled like typical elections, and there is a vote threshold candidates must reach to earn their party’s formal nomination.
For each state, candidates are awarded delegates, and once all 50 states and eligible territories cast their votes, the candidate with the most delegates wins the nomination. (Usually, outstanding primaries will still be held even after a candidate surpasses the necessary vote total to win.)
If no candidate reaches a majority threshold, a plurality of votes is not typically enough to win. In other words, if no candidate gets over 50% of the total delegates, parties usually won’t just award the candidate with the most delegates the nomination.
Instead, this results in a “contested convention,” which is something else you can bet on (and which may result in “no action” on certain primary wagers, depending on your sportsbook’s rules).
Some states have open primaries, where voters affiliated with either party (or a third party) may vote in the primary of their choice. Other states have closed primaries, where voters can only cast their ballots for candidates aligned with their own party affiliation.
Fortunately, betting is totally decoupled from this model, allowing bettors of all parties to wager on whomever they wish, whenever they want.
What Are State Caucuses?
Caucuses are akin to primaries, but these are not run by state election commissions. Instead, state party organizations run these events. Caucuses function like town hall roll calls, where each precinct holds a “vote” and totals are compiled by sorting out which candidate won the most districts within a given state.
As of 2020, several historical caucus states (Kansas, Hawaii, Maine) have adopted the primary election model due to its greater accuracy and less complex nature, but a few holdouts remain. Currently, the following states and territories still employ caucuses for one or both parties:
- North Dakota
- American Samoa
- US Virgin Islands
Previous Primary And Caucus Results
The following primary and caucus results are from the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections, respectively. In 2016, since there was no incumbent (Barack Obama was term limited), these events were more hotly contested on both sides.
However, in 2020, with the GOP having an incumbent in President Trump, 10 states either canceled their Republican primaries and caucuses or automatically granted all their delegates to Trump. In the list below, these states are indicated with a "No Primary" designation in parentheses.