We are still a week shy of the polls opening for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and already the race for the White House has become the most wagered on event in history according to the Betfair Exchange.
More than £200 million has been bet on either Donald Trump to retain his seat or for Joe Biden to be crowned the new president on November 3, and forecasts suggest that figure could even double as the hysteria reaches fever pitch in the coming week.
With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the other most bet upon events in history to see how the extraordinary story of Trump vs Biden compares.
U.S. Election (2020) – Next President Market (£220m)
As already mentioned, the Betfair Exchange liquidity for the Next President market has already passed the £220 million mark, and that figure will spiral yet further as voting day approaches – the 2020 U.S. election will quite comfortably become the most wagered upon event in punting history.
As things stand, Biden was a 1.54 chance to win according to Exchange traders, with Trump a veritable underdog at 2.84. But a week is a long time in politics, and as we’ve see before the betting odds aren’t always a true arbiter of what is likely to happen….
U.S. Election (2016) – Next President Market (£199m)
Ironically, the 2020 U.S. election has broken the previous record set by the 2016 renewal, in which Trump sensationally downed Hillary Clinton in arguably the most divisive electoral campaign in history.
In what became a trend for political betting in 2016, the odds-makers got it completely wrong – Trump, the betting underdog, prevailed despite getting considerably fewer votes than his opponent. In the end, it was the electoral college system that enabled him to prevail.
By the time the result was announced, some £199 million had been wagered upon the outcome, which at the time was nearly double the next highest amount bet on an event.
EU Referendum (2016) – Leave or Remain (£113m)
Ah yes, cast your mind back to those hazy days of 2016….
A few months before Trump’s sensational triumph, voters in the UK had their own jaw-dropping moment when they went to the polls for the EU referendum.
Most expected the ‘Remain’ vote to prevail – at least that was where the bulk of the money on the Betfair Exchange went, but in the end it was the Leave vote that prevailed….the catalyst for four years of almost complete political uncertainty in Westminster and in Brussels.
Whichever the side of the fence you were sat on, the result was still an almighty shock to most – especially so for the majority who came together to pump £113 million into the betting market.
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor (2017) – Fight Winner (£51m)
The most wagered upon sporting event in history was Floyd Mayweather’s boxing bout with UFC star Conor McGregor.
More than £50 million was spent, which is incredible when you think that somebody, somewhere must have been laying Mayweather, considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time, to lose to a man who had never stepped foot inside a boxing ring in his life before.
Floyd won the contest by tenth round stoppage, allowing punters to count their winnings – it was reported that six individual wagers of more than $1 million were placed on Mayweather with bookmakers in the United States.
World Cup 2018 – Tournament Winner (£39m)
It was one of the most wide-open editions of the World Cup in year, and that’s perhaps why nearly £40 million was bet upon the winner of the tournament – the most ever taken for a single football event.
In the end, France bested Croatia in the final, and analysts reported that the progress of England to the semi-finals had seen a raft of patriotic punters backing Gareth Southgate’s men to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.
Sadly, as has often been the case with the Three Lions through the years, that proved to be nothing more than a false dawn.
Grand National 2019 – Race Winner (£10m)
A huge £10 million was wagered on the Betfair Exchange alone on the winner of the Grand National in 2019, with bookie revealing that, all told, more than £250 million was bet on the annual extravaganza.
Tiger Roll won for a second consecutive year, setting up the fascinating prospect of a hat-trick in 2021 after the race this year was abandoned due to Covid-19.