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Professional Gamblers Place Bets on Trump-Clinton Contest

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump steps to the podium to introduce his wife Melania during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.
Associated Press
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump steps to the podium to introduce his wife Melania during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.

Professional Gamblers Place Bets on Trump-Clinton Contest
Professional Gamblers Take Bets on Trump-Clinton Contest GUEST: Paul Krishnamurty, founder, The Political Gambler

Now that Donald Trump is a Republican presidential nominee, what are his chances of winning? You can look at the polls, you could ask your friends or you could read tea leaves. You might check where the money is going. Political betting is mostly illegal in the US, but it's very popular in Europe. This year has been quite a challenge for the oddsmakers. Joining me is Paul Krishnamurty founder of the blog, The Political Gambler. How big a business is betting on US politics? Huge. It's expected that this presidential election will be the biggest bet of all time. Just with one farm -- firm, something like $200 million have traded. That's just one company. In a horse race, oddsmakers use factors like past performance, the length of the course, that kind of thing. How our odds determined in political races? When you've distinguished between bookmakers, who are the traditional oddsmakers, when we talk about the market opinion the truest guide is the betting exchange, the money on those appears as if it was the stick -- stock market. The factors behind them, it's a combination of several factors, opinion polls, media, narrative, the past trends are important. Reactions to daily events, something can move the market. Marco Rubio was always a huge favorite, as he had a disastrous stage, a collapse. What are the odds right now? Hillary Clinton has been the favorite since 2012 when the market opened. She's currently rating 70% likely to win. She was higher than that a couple of weeks ago. How accurate is political betting in predicting the outcome? In terms of presidential elections, since Betfair was founded in 2001 we've had the favorite 100 days out when on to win. In the UK national it's correct, it did get the recent EU referendum wrong. You didn't do well on the Brexit vote? I don't just but the favorites. You've one big on taking longshots in the Brexit vote and you bet on John McCain to be the 2008 nominee, back when the odds were 25 to 1. What are the blind spots that you recognize in these betting sites? There's a big distinction between a national presidential election versus the electorate. It's so nuanced. The average gambler doesn't need to be well informed about the party. As a professional better, you're looking at the GOP convention, has anything happened in the past week that's moved the markets? Trump has shortened up big there was skepticism that he would get the nomination right up until the last minute. Which has been more interesting too bad in, this presidential race or the British leadership race? Definitely the US election. I prefer US politics. This one in particular has been phenomenal with the drama in the anarchy at the Republican debates. I think your media covers it a lot better. I've been speaking with Paul Krishnamurty founder of the blog The Political Gambler.

Now that Donald Trump is officially the Republican nominee, what are his chances of winning? Well, you could look at the polls, you could ask your friends, or you could check where the money's going.

Gamblers around the world are placing bets worth millions of dollars on the U.S. presidential race, betting on everything from who will win in November to what phrases Sen. Ted Cruz will use in his convention speech. British gambling site Betfair saw about $200 million in bets on the 2012 presidential race, according to Paul Krishnamurty, founder of the blog The Political Gambler.

The political betting markets say Trump has about a 30 percent chance to win in November.

Political gambling is illegal in the U.S., though there is an exception for some academia-backed websites that are functionally equivalent to betting.

Krishnamurty has won thousands of dollars consistently betting on President Obama, even when he faced 10 to 1 odds in 2008. He also won a bet predicting Sen. John McCain to be the Republican nominee in 2008 at 20 to 1 odds. But he put his money on Cruz this election, betting on the wrong outsider candidate to clinch the nomination.

"My whole game is to play as if it's the stock market," Krishnamurty said. "I didn't call Trump until it was way too late. But because I went against Jeb Bush so heavily, I was able to make a profit. But I never covered on Obama. I was very confident on that."

Krishnamurty joins KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday with more on his 2016 bets and whether anything at the Republican convention so far has improved Trump's odds of victory.