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Punters Bank on Obama, Reid Retains Senate Control

Barack Obama

More than £40 million was placed on the outcome of the 2012 election that saw Barack Obama re-elected as US president.

While political polls portrayed a tight race, bookmakers placed Obama as clear favorite to beat Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

Betting exchange Betfair saw its largest political market in 12 years with £32 million in bets placed throughout the campaign compared to £23 million during the last election. Some £7 million was wagered on the last day alone.

Bookies were giving odds of 1-4 for Obama to retain his presidency, which shortened to 1-5 as the early exit polls poured in, and then to 1-10 as news broke of Obama’s victory in Florida.

Mike Smithson, editor of Politicalbetting, told eGaming Review:

“Throughout the long night of the White House race the most striking for the punters was how the betting markets were much faster responding to events and the information available than any of the so-called pundits.

“As the news was coming in I Tweeted a number of shots showing the Romney price movement on Betfair and how sentiment moved so sharply away from the Republican challenger which were in the initial batch of state to end voting. An hour and a half later the decline had continued even more yet even when Betfair punters had all but given up on Romney the media was still calling it a tight race.

“What this all shows is that those looking to profit from making political bets are, when taken as a mass, good at making the big predictions.”

Harry Reid

Harry Reid retained his Senate majority leadership, while Democrats expanded their control of the Senate, widening their majority to 55-45 over the Republican Party.

In Nevada, Republican Dean Heller narrowly beat Shelley Berkley. Heller has been influential in lobbying for Republican support for the Reid-Kyl bill. Heller and Kyl made headlines for a public spat in in September.

At the time, Heller commented: “We’re wearing different uniforms, and we will be for the next 26 days. But I have no doubt, no doubt, we get past this election and Senator Reid and I are going to sit down and put the past behind us. Nevada can’t afford anything different.”

This is all good news for poker players, who hope the Reid-Kyl bill will be introduced during the lame duck session that started today.  . 

A Romney victory and a shift in the Senate would have killed any hope for a bill. The Republican Party hinted during the 2012 campaign that it would prohibt online gambling, as well as seek to reverse the DoJ’s clarification of the Wire Act.

A summary of Reid’s bill, co-sponsored by Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, was leaked last month. If introduced, it would strengthen anti-gambling laws overall in the United States but would legalize online poker.



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