Joe Biden, President-elect, is already assembling his team to lead the nation even as President Donald Trump is assembling his own legal representation to deny the result of last week’s US Presidential election. To win the election, a minimum of 270 electoral college votes were needed and the Democrats won 290 (50.8% of total votes cast). Trump’s frantic legal efforts – focused on the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin – may delay the inauguration of Biden on 20 January but the general consensus is that there was no systemic or material fraud during the election process and that the result should stand, a state of affairs that even many defeated Republicans endorse.
Most bookmakers in the UK and Ireland are already paying out on the Biden win. BetFred emphatically tweeted on Saturday “In Fred Done’s book, it’s over. I’m paying out on Joe Biden”. BetVictor also paid out at the weekend, declaring that any legal challenges are immaterial. William Hill, Bet365 and BoyleSports also cashed out Biden backers early doors, whilst Ladbrokes and Coral followed suit on Monday.
However, other bookies are uncertain that the matter is resolved with Betfair, for example, saying “Before settling the markets, we must wait for clarity around ongoing vote counties, recounts and any potential legal challenges to the results”. Betway concurs and spokesman Chad Yeomans defends the delay in paying out, saying “Given that the outcome is still being liquidly traded around the world, I think we can point to very legitimate reasons for not settling yet”.
If you had a small bet on Biden winning the election and your bookie is sitting on the fence just now, take comfort from the fact that you are not alone. On October 29 a fellow punter bet £1million on the Biden win through Betfair, with his £540,000 win still in limbo. The market for the US Presidential election has been huge with over £567 million in bets placed on Betfair Exchange alone, making it the biggest betting event in the betting platform’s history. Many Americans have been unable to legally bet on the election outcome and can only watch with envy as Biden supporters across the world celebrate the winning result.
Donald Trump is definitely not prepared to accept the result though and many of his supporters feel the same way. In addition to his legal actions alleging electoral fraud, he has refused to issue the traditional concession to President-elect Biden, thereby depriving him access to federal funds that are allocated to enable a smooth transition between the two parties. Although most bookies have paid out on the Biden win, there is still market activity on Trump’s chances to remain in power. The probability has risen steadily over the past few days, reaching over 12% across a spread of odds from betting markets whilst the odds for Biden have fallen daily to a probability of 87%. The uncertainty stemming from Trump’s aggressive assertions of electoral fraud has spooked some world leaders. So, although most European leaders such as Johnson, Merkel and Macron, have acknowledged Biden as the President-elect, the Chinese government has merely stated that it has “noted” Biden’s potential victory.
Once the matter is settled, the smooth transition of power can commence and US citizens, together with the global community, will give a collective sigh of relief. That said, given that Joe Biden will celebrate his 78th birthday later this month, political commentators are speculating on whether he can complete a full term as President and are already looking ahead to the outcome of the next Presidential election in four years’ time. Many believe that Biden’s running mate, Vice-President elect Kamala Harris, may well be leading the country at that point. Harris, a 56-year old attorney, will be the first women Vice-President and the first Vice-President of African, Asian and Caribbean origin.
Only two bookmakers are in the 2024 Presidential election market at the moment and both place Kamala Harris as favourite, with William Hill and Skybet offering identical odds of 7/2 that she will be elected President in 2024. The odds for Joe Biden are 5/1 from Skybet, but it is hard to imagine that he will stand for re-election at the age of 82. The future of Donald Trump is uncertain just now. If he fails in his attempts to wrest back the election from Biden, would he stand again in four years time and win? Trump is a divisive figure but punters should remember that he has galvanised the Republican vote this time round, achieving over 71 million votes. Skybet has odds of 10/1 that Trump will win in 2024 but it remains a possibility that he may finally accept defeat and bow out of politics to focus on his business interests and his golf handicap.