Gamblers seize the day: $130 million traded on who will win the White House, a day before U.S. presidential election

WASHINGTON, U.S. – With the U.S. election just a day away, most opinion polls in the last week have predicted a close race between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald ...


• Betters who backed Brexit are backing Trump, stats reveal

• Asian investors hoping for a Clinton victory

• Who will win has huge implication for global security, climate change

WASHINGTON, U.S. – With the U.S. election just a day away, most opinion polls in the last week have predicted a close race between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hoping to cash in on this highly volatile and turbulent election, record numbers of gamblers are pouring millions into online platforms from Ireland to Iowa. 

U.K.-based internet betting exchange, Betfair said its Next President market was set to become the most traded it had ever seen, even going on to surpass Brexit, the U.K. referendum to leave the European Union.

Some $130 million has been traded on who will become the next U.S. president, compared with $159 million on Brexit, according to figures till Sunday, well on track to becoming the most wagered-upon political event ever.

On Betfair's individual state betting markets, the Republicans are still dominating the betting in Iowa, Arizona and Ohio, while the Democrats have gained confidence in the markets for Colorado and Nevada. It's still neck-and-neck in North Carolina. 

On Ireland's Paddy Power, which merged with Betfair earlier this year, the U.S. presidential election "is definitely on course to be the biggest political event," spokesman Féilim Mac An Iomaire said. The site has had about $4.38 million bet on the race so far. 

Interestingly, over 67 percent of customers who backed Brexit are backing Trump to become the next president of the United States. 

Barry Orr, spokesperson for Betfair, said, "Brexit is still firmly in bettors' minds and those who made a killing from the result in June are backing Trump to come through for them again, with over 67 percent of Brexit backers putting their faith in Trump."

In recent weeks, Trump has narrowed the gap with Hillary Clinton considerably following FBI's decision in October to review its investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. 

On Sunday, the FBI gave a clean chit to Clinton saying there was no merit in the case, following which the odds once again increased in Clinton's favour, who is currently, trading with a 73 percent chance of winning on Betfair.

Trump had backed Brexit in the run-up to the June referendum, during which Britons voted to leave the EU by a slender majority. 

Brexit campaigner and UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been lending his support to the Republican candidate's presidential campaign.

And thanks to the businessman celebrity-turned-politician, a Hollywood factor has crept into the elections. B.C. Lottery Corporation says the amount of betting on the election has surpassed every event in the last three years, including the Superbowl.

According to BCLC spokesperson Doug Chen, the U.S. presidential election is currently the most popular betting event of any kind on its gambling website PlayNow.com.

Joining in the mayhem are the Asian and European markets. 

As many as 80 percent of rich Asian and European investors are wagering their money on Hillary Clinton winning the race to the White House.

Some Swiss banks are even offering structured products in the form of bonds, whose performance is tied to a group of shares, and has seen “strong interest” from regions like Singapore, Bloomberg reported. 

Some of the notes are linked to stocks that should rise if Clinton wins, and likewise others would benefit from a Donald Trump victory.

Another gambling company, U.K.-based Ladbrokes, said about five million pounds, or a little over $6 million, has been bet on the 2016 U.S. election since its markets on the race opened four years ago.

Meanwhile, a mystery customer has wagered a staggering 37,000 pounds on the outcome of the U.S. Election just days before the historic vote, William Hill reported. 

The unnamed customer is backing Donald Trump to win the elections on Tuesday. 

He stands to win 60,000 pounds if Trump succeeds.

How markets will react

With one day to go until Election Day in the U.S., investors seem less certain of the outcome than prediction-market gamblers and polling aggregators.

If things go according to what most pollsters are predicting, which is a Clinton victory, albeit by a slender margin, markets would likely react in a relatively calm and orderly fashion. Equities would remain range-bound overall, as would bonds and currencies.

There has been some light hedging and position adjustments in recent weeks but not on the scale of what likely will be seen in case of a Trump victory, much like the aftermath of the U.K.’s June vote to leave the European Union. 

“In case of a Trump win, we envision a violent flight to quality,” Barclays Plc said in a report. 

A Democratic sweep may also be disruptive, but that possibility is increasingly remote. 

The near-term outlook for the capital markets will be driven by the results of the U.S. election on November 8. 

If Donald Trump wins, the sell-off could stretch, while a Hillary Clinton win would arrest the slide. 

A lot will, however, depend on whether foreign investors continue to sell after dumping a huge value of shares in the last one month.
World nervous

The U.S. election result will not just seal the fate of Americans for the next four years, it also has ramifications for the rest of the world. 

Who wins the presidency on Tuesday has huge implications for global security, international trade and relations and climate change.

In Latin America, referred to as "America's backyard," it is generally expected that a Hillary Clinton victory will usher in a more hawkish, interventionist stance; if so, Latin America's new governments will be ready to meet the U.S. more than halfway. 

Donald Trump, in turn, is something of an unknown quantity. 

While his dalliance with racism and xenophobia is a cause for concern, he, like Clinton, is unlikely to introduce serious changes in one of the key issues in U.S.-Latin America relations: the misguided "war on drugs".

In China, there is a view that Trump may just be the man for the job. 

Veteran pekingologists suspect the Chinese leadership has been secretly rooting for a Trump victory, wagering his elevation to the Oval Office would strike a body blow to their greatest rival.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is thought to be the only world leader openly welcoming the prospect of Donald Trump in the White House. Putin has called Trump "colourful," in contrast to his relationship with Clinton, which is much frostier.

Britain shares the view of other nations that Clinton offers more continuity and will maintain the special relationship. 

Donald Trump has declared Britain and Europe unsafe after recent terror attacks. Few in Europe see any benefits of a Trump presidency.

Meanwhile, the peace process between Israel and Palestine, the situation in Syria and relations with Iran could all hinge on the result of the U.S. election.

The Pope, too, is not immune to the U.S. elections. 

Pope Francis on Saturday condemned the political use of fear and the building of walls, describing the refugee crisis as "a problem of the world" and urging political leaders to do more, according to America magazine. 

The pope did not name names and did not refer to the upcoming U.S. presidential election, but the reference was obvious.

When the world’s superpower goes to the polls, the rest of the world has no choice, but to pay attention.

 

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