Whatever the outcome, the morning after Election Day is a scramble to grasp the economic, social, and foreign policy agendas that will touch every person on Earth. Whether or not we realize it, we all wager on the US presidential election.
No sooner had the madness of 2020's election wound down than thoughts turned to 2022 and 2024. And we're not just talking about the political press, "Beltway insiders," or strange YouTubers, but also sportsbooks and bettors!
Because political elections are "unregulated competitions," federal law prohibits US-based sportsbooks from offering direct "election betting odds" markets. European and offshore bookmakers aren't bound by this law and continuously offer odds on future elections. Unfortunately, US bettors are locked out of betting on politics, though this might change before the next presidential election, given the positive regulatory movements in the sports betting industry.
Update 07/25 - US sportsbooks licensed in Ontario have started offering bets on the 2024 US presidential election, which might also be a positive indicator for the US market.
PRESIDENTIAL PROP BETS
Bettors from outside the US can also get their political action through all manner of prop bets:
While we're here, though, we should probably look at 2024 presidential election odds - how they're presented, how they pay out, and favorites.
Presidential election odds are presented like futures bets. In many cases – primarily early(ish) in an election cycle – the odds for each individual candidate winning are greater than even money (+100). In these cases, the odds reflect your winnings if a particular candidate wins.
Say you wager $100 on Joe Biden winning reelection in 2024, at +540 odds:
Before both major parties have nominated candidates, a US presidential election is like the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. The early rounds feature a massive field of favorites, fringe contenders, legitimate underdogs, ascendent politicians, TV pundits, vapid celebrities, and political hangers-on.
The time leading up to the parties' conventions is the Sweet 16 through the Final Four, with the fringy, cringy, and otherwise unserious ousted from the field.
Once two candidates (and maybe a lively third with no actual shot at victory) remain, presidential election odds more closely resemble those for a boxing match, with the favorite in the -200/-300 range and the underdog in the vicinity of +200.
Donald Trump (+360)
For the third consecutive US presidential election cycle, things will get weird.
First off, for the first time since Grover Cleveland in 1893, a former US president will be running for a nonconsecutive second term. That's right, folks, "the Donald" is coming back!
Like Cleveland, Trump hopes to secure a second term in the White House after a four-year return to civilian life. And, for the moment, he's the bookies' favorite to do it!
Now, don't mistake "favorite" with "likely," as +350 odds only represent a slightly better-than 20% chance of winning. This may seem aggressive for a candidate who lost handily in 2020 and will be 78 years old in November 2024. Trump is a virtual lock to win the Republican nomination… and has previously pulled off the absurd.
Plus, the possibility of Biden electing not to run for reelection – or being seriously challenged by Vice President Kamala Harris (or others) – and a lackluster Republican field work in the Donald's favor.
President Joe Biden (+540)
Rarely a sitting US President is not favored to win a second term just over a year after taking office – especially against the guy he beat!
However… The Biden presidency simply hasn't been great, with Congressional deadlocks and abandoned policies denting hopes of economic reform and infrastructure development.
Ron DeSantis (+600)
In between Biden and Harris is Florida's governor. DeSantis is currently the #2 choice among GOP voters. Still, the field is likely to get more crowded. DeSantis already faces the massive challenge of positioning himself as a right-wing alternative to Trump without alienating the base that got Trump elected. He also finds a way to appeal to moderate Republicans.
Vice President Kamala Harris (+1100)
Unsurprisingly, the odds are closely linked with those of Joe Biden to win reelection.
Immediately after the 2020 election, it was speculated that Biden would step aside after a single term and allow Vice President Harris to run as the incumbent. There's still uncertainty around whether Biden will run for a second term, though it seems increasingly likely. Not only that, there's a decent chance that both Biden and Harris will face challenges from within the Democratic party for the nomination.
However, assuming the Democratic party selects one of Biden or Harris, that candidate will likely be the overall favorite, as the 30% chance to win they currently share will be consolidated for one candidate.
Mike Pence (+1800)
Trump's former vice president also positions himself as a non-Trump alternative for Republicans. A more stable option than his former boss, Pence inspires little passion.
Hillary Clinton (+5400)
Rumors of another Clinton run have gained momentum amid the Biden administration's lack of results. Whether Americans are more inclined to vote for Clinton in 2024 than in 2016 is an open question – though perhaps post-2016 chaos positions her as a steady hand.
As Trump (100-to-1 at the start of his campaign) showed with his win in 2016, the absence of tact, political experience, and a concrete plan will definitely not keep you from the White House. Thus, let's spare a moment for some Potential Wildcard Candidates of Questionable Seriousness:
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (+6900)
The Rock has stated that: if it's what the people want," he'll consider a presidential run. There's no indication that the people want it, but the possibility apparently warrants consideration.
Tucker Carlson (+7900)
Some bookmakers see the conservative TV personality's chances at the presidency comparable to those of Clinton or Pence. Despite hinting at the possibility, Carlson is not running and is unlikely to win if he ever does throw his hat into the ring.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Odds courtesy of the Smarkets betting exchange - not available for US bettors. Odds accurate as of Mar 30, 2022