“Put your money where your mouth is.” These days, people are taking this old gamblers’ adage to a new dimension, placing their money on whether President Trump will make it through his term in office. How? Through online betting sites being run out of the U.K.
Sites like Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, and PredictIt are offering people a chance to wager on the fate of American politics. We’re talking real money here. Among the outcomes you can place a bet on are Trump’s impeachment and the Handel-Ossoff election here in Georgia.
Visit the PredictIt site, and you’ll see a homepage with a picture of our president. The caption reads: “PredictIt is a real-money political prediction market, a stock market for politics…. So you think maybe you know better than the rest of us? Let’s Play Politics!”
On Paddy Power, the odds that Trump will be impeached in 2017 are given as three to one. If we do the math, that translates into a probability of 25%. For the years 2018, 2019, and 2020, the probabilities are estimated at 16.67%, 5.88%, and 2.94%, respectively. Ladbrokes has a different figure, putting the probability of impeachment at four in six, or 60%.
Not all gamblers are putting their money on impeachment. On PredictIt, bets that impeachment will happen are nearly three times lower than bets that Trump won’t be impeached. No matter how people are placing their bets, the fact is that they are – money has poured into the sites.
The Gambler’s Odds
Okay, we talked numbers. Now let’s talk about what’s behind them. Sites like these prey on people’s emotions. And today, when it comes to the political climate, emotions are running high. So it makes sense that companies would try to capitalize on Americans’ heightened feelings. What doesn’t make sense is that people would put hard-earned money into betting on political outcomes.
These online political betting sites are capitalizing on Americans’ heightened political feelings. In casinos, there’s the “rake” – the share of the pot that the house takes. Be sure that Paddy Power and its sister sites are getting their cut, too.
If you ask me, the odds are clouded. Remember, impeachment is no small thing. This isn’t on par with wagering a favored horse to win the race. We’re talking about the presidency. Look at our country’s presidential history, impeachment feels like liberal fantasy. No president has ever been impeached, and only Richard Nixon resigned under the pressure of the impeachment process. That’s only one of our 44 previous presidencies.
So why are folks putting dollars down on the fate of our president? They’re letting their emotions drive how they spend their money. When it comes to financial management, this is always a bad idea. Think of overvalued stocks and companies. When you let your feelings override rational thinking, you’re bound to regret it later. Betting on Trump’s impeachment is no different. It’s a clear case of emotions trumping prudence.
My advice? Stay out of the “real-money political prediction market” and invest your money in the real market, in a way that actually pays off.