$650K Paid Out on Obama BetsPublished November 7, 2012 by OCR Editor
Online gamblers correctly predict US election outcome.
President Barack Obama just won his reelection bid. And as America has spoken, so has the gambling world. In fact, while opinion polls had declared the election a statistical dead heat, most online gambling sites had already given Obama favorable odds to win, even before polls had closed. And one Irish betting site, Paddy Power, had even called the race AND paid out $650K to Obama backers two days before the election!
Are online bettors better predictors than opinion polls?
While some have dubbed Paddy Power's move as a "publicity stunt" - it certainly gives one pause when professional pollsters say one thing and bettors say another. And the latter turns out to be right.
For many betting sites, it was a done deal even before November 6, as shown by the amount of movement in money and potential payouts just days before the election. One such site, InTrade, lets users bet on the outcome of an event by purchasing a "contract" for the event. By Election Day, the amount of both Obama and Romney contracts bought showed the President with a 73.5 percent chance of winning against Romney's 26.5.
Sports betting company puts its money where its mouth is!
Just two days before the US voted, Paddy Power, Ireland's biggest bookmaker, was so confident of an Obama win that it made a "gutsy call" and took a huge risk - paying over $650,000 to customers who wagered on Obama. Its announcement in The Irish Times also received some public backlash for its supposedly racist tones.
Publicity stunt? Or smart business move? Like many betting organizations, Paddy Power had seen the overall betting trend towards Obama. Its bettors had made the correct call - even if the professional pollsters had not.