DraftKings, for the first time in its history of operating as a daily fantasy and sports betting provider, is offering traditional lines on political outcomes.
But political observers in the United States who believe they have the foresight to predict the outcomes of the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election won’t be able to participate, as the sportsbook is only offering such lines in Ontario.
Canada legalized single-game sports betting in August of 2021. Parliament’s gaming bill (C-218) afforded provinces the right to determine their own laws and regulations on sports gambling similarly to states in the US.
Ontario, Canada’s most populated province and home to the Toronto capital, was first to the sports betting market when such gambling went live in early April. But unlike in the US, where states continue to ban political betting, Ontario rule makers opted to allow it.
DraftKings Ontario this week took advantage of the politics opportunity by debuting odds on the 2024 US presidential election. The book put two Republicans — former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — as the betting front-runners.
Trump opened at +250 and DeSantis +300. President Joe Biden is third at +500, and VP Kamala Harris fourth at +1200. Former VP Mike Pence rounds out the top five at +1400.
A $100 winning bet on Trump would net $250, while the same wager on Biden and the incumbent being elected to serve a second term would net $500.
US Political Betting Banned
Nevada was the only state where single-game sports gambling was permitted prior to the US Supreme Court’s May 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). It has for decades maintained a prohibition on political betting.
None of the more than 30 states that have since joined Nevada in allowing sports betting have included betting on politics. That isn’t necessarily surprising, as Nevada is considered the gold standard of the US gaming industry, and its sports betting model has been cloned by many state newcomers.
The thinking is that permitting political betting could interfere with election integrity. Not everyone agrees, of course. There are others who believe legal betting on elections would increase voter turnout.
Those who think they could make money forecasting election outcomes in the US remain limited to participating in legal, regulated political betting exchanges like PredictIt and Smarkets. But it’s estimated that many more political enthusiasts seeking to make a buck on their expertise are wagering through unregulated offshore internet platforms.
Case for Election Odds
Veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro has long supported Nevada amending its sports betting regulations to permit politics. The Sports Betting Hall of Fame member says allowing legal books to take political action would bring the activity into a regulated environment. It would also hurt offshore bookies, something the legal industry seeks.
We’ve been asking for 30 years, ‘What is wrong with it?’ What’s the sense in not being able to do [politics], since we can book just about everything else?” Vaccaro asked during an interview with CNN in 2015.
“Why send all this money offshore or to illegal bookies when we can regulate it and tax it and everybody can make some money doing it properly?” Vaccaro said.
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