The betting on the 2016 U.S. election resembles that in the UK before vote on Brexit

by WorldTribune Staff, October 19, 2016

While Brexit bettors saw “Remain” as the safest outcome to put their cash on, a majority of the actual wagers were for the underdog, and eventual winner, “Leave” campaign.

UK oddsmakers are seeing a similar pattern with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Graham Sharpe, spokesman for betting shop chain William Hill points to the odds for Britain's EU referendum in a William Hill shop in London on June 13, 2016. /AP
Graham Sharpe, spokesman for betting shop chain William Hill, points to the odds for Brexit at a William Hill shop in London on June 13, 2016. /AP

Bookmaker William Hill says 71 percent of the money so far staked is for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But 65 percent of the bets by number are for Donald Trump.

“That means a lot more punters are putting smaller bets on Trump, almost exactly the same pattern as was seen in the run up to the Brexit vote,” the UK’s Independent noted on Oct. 18.

A surge in bets on Trump over recent days has prompted Hill to cut the odds on a Trump victory from 11-2 to 4-1.

Graham Sharpe, a betting industry veteran of 44 years, said: “It’s very, very similar to the Brexit vote. There is a metropolitan media bias that says Trump can’t win, but they can’t vote. In betting terms, this is not a done deal. I see parallels with the Brexit vote at this stage.”

Sharpe, the author of more than 25 books, mostly on the betting and racing industries, continued: “Trump at 4-1 or 11-2 will attract the smaller punters. But I don’t think that is only reason for the number of bets on him, and we have had to cut the odds on Trump three times in the last couple of days. This isn’t over.”

Since Hill doesn’t have many American clients, The Independent noted, the odds “reflect what people without any horse in the race think will happen. Punters may have latched on to the similarity of the forces behind Brexit and the rise of Trump. They include years of flat or falling incomes, popular discontent with the establishments of both countries and a desire to make them pay.”

John Mappin, a hotelier in Cornwall, has placed a bet on Trump, having already made a substantial profit from backing him to take the Republican nomination at 20-1.

“I’ve only ever placed one bet – this one,” he told The Independent. “I was on baby duty with my son when I watched Mr. Trump announce his candidacy. I saw the media had got it wrong. They were saying the guy has no chance. They were saying he’s doing this for a joke. That’s not the case. His supporters, they’ve been watching media bullshit for years and they see through it. Polls are very rarely reliable. I am more confident than ever that Mr. Trump will win.”