The American presidential election may be three years away, but that isn’t stopping gamblers from placing wagers on who will succeed President Barack Obama in the White House.
William Hill said Monday that a customer in London placed a $2,400 bet with 5-2 odds on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to succeed Obama as president in 2016.
A company spokesman said it was the largest bet placed so far on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
William Hill has cut Clinton’s odds to 2-1 from 5-2, making her the odds-on favorite.
“This bet on Hillary Clinton, together with a run of support for (New Jersey Gov.) Chris Christie, reducing his odds from 20-1 to 10-1, seems to signal the presidential race coming under starter’s orders as far as political punters are concerned,” William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said.
As of Monday, the odds to win the election were: Clinton, 2-1; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., 6-1; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 9-1; Christie, 10-1; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 12-1; and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., 16-1.
William Hill said Democrats and Republicans are tied at odds of 10-11 to win the election, while it’s 100-1 for an independent candidate.
At Ladbrokes, Clinton also is the early favorite at 9-4, with Christie the Republican favorite at 10-1.
Paddy Power has Clinton at 15-8, followed by Christie at 9-1.
Looking for a long shot? Paddy Power has actors Alec Baldwin and Eva Longoria each at 300-1.
Betting on U.S. elections is big business for bookmakers in Europe, but it remains illegal in Nevada.
William Hill took in more than $1.59 million in wagers on the 2012 election, while Paddy Power put its election bets at $1.6 million.
Spokesman Sharpe said William Hill is “confident that we will beat that comfortably this time.”
A bill introduced this year by Nevada’s Senate Judiciary Committee would have allowed pari-mutuel wagering on elections for president, U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. However, Nevada lawmakers scratched Senate Bill 418 in May.
Last year, Nevada’s 182 race and sports books posted $170.06 million in earnings on total handle of $3.45 billion.
Of the $170 million, only $10 million was earned from wagers other than football, baseball and basketball.
Novelty bets on the Academy Awards or “American Idol” are legal in Nevada.
The Nevada Gaming Commission approved rules in January 2011 allowing race and sports books to accept wagers on events other than sports. The catch is that bookmakers must receive approval from state gaming regulators and prove that wagering is fair and verifiable.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.