In The Aftermath Of Trump’s New York Trial, Can We Bet On Him Being President?

Trump Trial
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 06. Jun 2024.

Regulators across the US are moving to ban betting on the outcome of presidential elections completely, but New York and every other state in the nation is already a step ahead.

All political commentators, opinion polls and media outlets are still predicting that the 2024 race for the White House will be very close. The odds for Donald Trump becoming the next POTUS did lengthen after a New York jury delivered the guilty verdict on 34 counts but there remains little to separate them in the polls.

However, if you’re a regular sportsbook bettor, considering whether the 2024 presidential election will be as tight as many NBA games or as unpredictable as an NHL matchup, applying such logic to Trump vs Biden isn’t readily available to you in New York or anywhere else in the US.

Since internet betting was legalized in the State of New York in 2022, the regulations that apply to it have steadfastly held that wagers on the result of elections are not permitted. Indeed, being able to stake dollars anywhere in the US on who will name Capitol Hill as their workplace from November 5 onwards is seriously limited.

Available Options For Betting On The Presidential Election

Aside from unregulated offshore betting operators, it is the prediction markets and a ‘specialist’ trading site of sorts that have been used by stock dealers, analysts and financial ‘bettors’ to gauge activity, trends and pricing for US political events and to speculate on the outcome.

Currently, in the US wagers on the presidential election are only allowed at the Iowa Electronic Markets and PredictIT, both of which host prediction markets with the trading of shares to forecast results rather than straight up bets as most of us recognise them.

Should you be outside of the US, many other countries around the world permit betting on elections, notably in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Residents of the UK are already keenly wagering on the outcome of the General Election there, due to take place on July 4.

Could All Betting On The 2024 Presidential Election Be Outlawed At A Federal Level?

It is the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, a government agency, that is tasked with regulating prediction markets. But now, the body has ordered a ban on such betting. The prediction markets themselves are fighting back, with court action to follow. The CFTC is resolute though with its chairman, Rostin Behnan saying: 

“If they are left unchecked, the commission could find itself needing to investigate allegations of election fraud that could alter the prices of election prediction contracts. Big money is in play in U.S. elections.”

The move by the CTFC would be the first federal prohibition on election wagers. As already stated, no state or jurisdiction in the US allows such wagering via regulated online and brick-and-mortar betting providers but a ban at national government level would totally wipe out legal presidential betting options.

That’s not to say political betting hasn’t gone on for a long time. A paper from researchers at  UNC-Chapel Hill suggested that the 1868 election when Ulysses S. Grant defeated Horatio Seymour had prediction markets worth nearly $290 million in 2024 dollars. Every election since then, bar the occasional break such as World War II, has seen similar activity with much of it centered on New York.

As the 2024 presidential election steadily grows nearer, however, it looks like political trading markets may well disappear in the coming weeks and months. What we do know, though, from the upsurge in legal sports betting is that Americans love a wager. Where those that still wish to forecast whether it will be Biden or Trump who will be chosen to lead the nation next will head to satisfy their desire remains to be seen.

Closing Thoughts On The Future Of Political Betting

In conclusion, while the future of betting on presidential elections in the US appears uncertain, the demand for political wagering is clear. As federal regulations potentially tighten, and states like New York maintain their own prohibitions, bettors will need to seek alternatives. 

Those interested in wagering on the outcome of the 2024 election will have to navigate a complex landscape, relying on prediction markets or turning to international platforms. For now, New York's best betting sites remain focused on sports and other events, leaving the high-stakes world of political betting in a state of flux. The passion for political predictions endures, and where there is a will, there is often a way.

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