Legal betting on the U.S. presidential election crept closer to the country this week when DraftKings posted odds on the 2024 race at its sportsbook in Ontario, Canada.
Betting on elections still isn’t allowed at U.S. sportsbooks.
“You don’t get the opportunity to do that in our states. But we’re allowed to it in Canada,” said DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello, who is based in Las Vegas. “I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I think it’s going to write a lot of business.
“I had guys call me in the past and tell me they wanted to bet a half million dollars on it. I know there’s a big market for it. It’s one of those things where everybody has got an opinion.”
DraftKings made former president Donald Trump the +250 favorite to be elected again in 2024 and installed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the 3-1 second choice. President Joe Biden is the +550 third pick, followed by Vice President Kamala Harris at 12-1.
DeSantis, a Republican, has seen his odds improve in recent months. He briefly replaced Trump as the 2024 favorite in late June at London-based betting exchange Smarkets before inching back up to the second choice. DeSantis is the 3-1 co-favorite with Trump at United Kingdom-based BetFair sportsbook.
“There are a lot of reasons to look at the second choice in the Republican Party,” Avello said. “Trump could be in a little bit of trouble right now, and he’s going to be a lot older by the time the election takes place. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Trump, 76, continues to be a focal point of the January 6 congressional hearings regarding the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Biden, 79, has a historically low approval rating in the 30s.
“While the latest prices make (Trump) odds-on to run for the White House again, it’s now looking like he may face serious opposition from DeSantis,” Smarkets head of political markets Matthew Shaddick said. “On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are both going backwards in bettors’ 2024 estimations.”
The largest obstacle to the approval of election betting in Nevada is the state legislature. Gaming Control Board senior research analyst Michael Lawton told the Review-Journal in 2020 that lawmakers, not just gaming regulators, would have to approve the change.
Attempts to persuade lawmakers in recent years have failed. In 2014, then-state Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, said: “Frankly, I think that something as important as elections, as opposed to games, should not be the subject of wagering in our state.”
U.S. bookmakers would love to take action on the election.
“We’ve talked to people around the world,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “The books that offer it say it outhandles the Super Bowl 10 times over. And it makes sense. Many more people have opinions about the election than about the Super Bowl.”