Politics and sports have a lot more in common than you might think – the stakes are high, the players have honed their skills for years, there are winners and there are losers. And, increasingly, both of them involve betting. But although sports betting is well-known and understood, you might not be so clear on how to bet on politics – and that’s why you’re here for our introduction to how to bet on politics online.
Political betting has become something more and more of the best bookmakers are offering, with long-term betting on the huge political events around the globe. From the serious (when the UK rejoins the EU or the next Prime Minister), to the strangely possible (President Trump to officially pardon himself) all the way to the absolutely ridiculous (do you really want odds on Elon Musk or Kanye West for 2024?), there’s going to be a politics betting site offering you odds.
So, with so much political betting on offer, here’s our take on everything you could need to know to get started in politics – political betting markets, political betting odds, where to bet, what you can bet on, it’s all right here!
Firstly, before we get into the details, we need to clear up something we often get asked about – is it legal to bet on politics?
Simply, the general answer is yes – putting a bet on politics is a legal thing wherever betting in general is allowed. There are a few exceptions, most obviously the fact that US politics betting is still illegal in the USA. Things are changing though, with sites such as Draftkings beginning to find a foothold over there as more states relax gambling laws. We imagine that the political betting markets will open up there eventually as well.
Of course, as we found out with the 2020 US Presidential election betting, there’s plenty of opportunities for US politics betting outside the USA, with all manner of politics betting sites offering political odds on the next elections – although we still wouldn’t recommend taking those odds on Kanye for 2024!
So it should be absolutely fine to bet on politics online in most countries. Check the law in your country, but generally, if respectable bookmakers like Bet365 or Betway offer political betting odds, you’re pretty safe!
If you’re coming to political betting having used sports bookmakers before, you’re going to be disappointed, not only on the types of bets you’ll find but with the number of bets available to you. Generally, when you’re looking at a political betting site, you’ll find a limited number of markets when betting on events, with a heavy emphasis on the biggest political contests. And you’ll find the political betting site based in your country is far more likely to give you country specific betting than the big global betting brands.
Unlike a lot of sports betting, you’ll find you can bet on political events well into the future – right now, for example, there’s going to be plenty of bets for the next US presidential election, maybe even the one after that.
Generally, the more high-profile it is, the more interesting, controversial, or media figures the politicians are, the more likely it is to find bets available. And that’s a big reason why political betting in a mass-media age is getting ever more popular!
No matter where you are in the world, it’s likely that you’ll find a politics betting site with US odds. Some of this is down to the sheer importance of the USA, much of it in recent years has been down to the increasingly voyeuristic way the rest of the world is looking at the country – the what the heck is Trump going to do now and can I bet on it factor!
So expect to see lots of bets on offer for US politics betting around the next US presidential election, with plenty of big political names up for the job (and some very off the wall names in there as well!).
Just as with Trump in the USA, the recent political buffoonery in the UK has been almost as good for the bookmakers as it has for the political cartoonists. So expect to find plenty of opportunity to bet on politics UK for the next general election, when Boris Johnson will be replaced, when the UK will rejoin the European Union, that sort of thing.
Sorry Canada, but when it comes to politics, it’s good and bad for you. On the plus side, your politics hasn’t got the sort of political ‘characters’ that create such chaos around the world. But the downside for you is that there’s very little chance to bet on politics Canada for you.
Political betting is a different thing from sports betting obviously. When you’re betting on politics it’s often a more long-term bet, looking months or even years into the future. As the field of candidates narrows or the polling data starts getting more accurate closer to the event, expect the available markets to increase and the odds to get even tighter.
You’ll find most sites that offer political betting markets will offer odds on the biggest political events, but in general, there’s going to be a smaller range of bets than you’re used to with sports betting.
This political bet is the equivalent of a match bet, you’re simply picking the winner in the election or leadership race.
Props or proposition bets are the other main types of bets for politics, the bets that aren’t just about winning. For example, the bets on whether the UK rejoins the European Union, the bets of Trump going to jail, the odds for a specific name to become President or Prime Minister before a certain date, that sort of thing. Sometimes these can be serious, often they’re where you find some very silly bets on offer – I can get you odds of 33/1 on ex-President Trump being in Russia before a certain date or 100/1 on footballer Marcus Rashford being British PM before 2060 for example.
Occasionally you can find the chance to bet over/under, points spread, winning margins, or handicaps on politics, but they’re extremely rare.
Political polling has proved, year after year, to be a very unpredictable thing. After all, do you remember when the UK had the European Union referendum? The polls all pointed to a big Remain vote for Britain to stay in the EU, but in the end it was an extremely tight race eventually going to the Leave voters. Likewise, the US 2020 Presidential race was meant to be a landslide for Biden and the Democrats and we all know how it became a much closer race than any of the pollsters figured!
But the bookmakers are all about making smart odds for anything they offer, with politics being no different. One thing this means is that the odds for political betting might not be any more accurate than the pollsters, but they’re definitely more conservative than most sporting events. After all, the bookies know that a soccer match is all down to the form and skills of the teams playing, whereas the outcome of an election is all down to the electorate, and history has shown us that people vote in very unpredictable ways!
When it comes to finding those betting sites that do best as a political betting site, you’ll soon find that not all bookmakers are the same. Like Esports betting and Virtual Sports betting, the political prediction market is relatively new and not all bookies will offer you the chance to bet on political outcomes. Some big name bookies, such as Bet 365 and Betway have gone into political betting in a big way, whereas others such as Pinnacle are merely toe-dipping right now, whereas the likes of Tonybet simply don’t offer any political betting odds at all. And more than that, the betting market is changing constantly – for example, 22bet used to offer good political betting odds for example, but they’re no longer operating in the UK.
But if you’re looking for the best politics betting site, head for the sports section (very few bookies list politics separately) and check out what they have to offer. Generally, those bookies offering best odds on their sportsbooks will be the ones offering decent political betting odds as well. But it’s all going to depend on what you’re looking for – if it’s bet on politics UK you’re after, head to bet365 politics or another big UK bookie for the best selection. But if you’re wanting a good bet on politics Canada, look for a site that goes in for a lot of Canadian betting.
The big problem with political betting is that it’s all about voting rather than the skills and form of sporting teams or athletes. And there’s nothing as unpredictable as people voting! And it’s very unlikely that you’re going to get rich betting on politics – because the bookmakers understand the unpredictability of politics, they’re unlikely to give great odds on any big political event.
But, saying all that, you can still make money when you bet on politics if you get the timing right and know what you’re doing. Pick your bets well, find that great politics betting site (right now we’re going with bet 365 politics), compare odds, and time it just right – get the right value bets and the electorate may well be your friends! And let’s not forget that betting on politics can be fun as well, adding an element of excitement to what can all too often be a little bit dull!
Depends on the country! It’s illegal to offer political bets in the USA but legal in many countries around the world.
The majority of the big names in sports betting will have a small politics section – bet 365, Betway.
Draftkings USA only allows sports betting in certain states and doesn’t yet have politics betting. You can find betting on politics at election time through sweepstakes.
A proposition bet (prop bet, novelty bet, side bet) is a bet on something happening or not where it’s not tied to the outcome – e.g. will Kanye run in 2024?
You can find political betting available on elections and leadership races around the world – US Presidential, UK General Election, Who will the next German Chancellor be? etc., plus plenty of prop political bets to choose from.
Right now, betting on US politics is not allowed.