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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.

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US presidential race 'smashing' election betting records

7 Nov 2016

By Gary Trask
One of the more compelling election cycles in history will also break records in bookmaking circles as voters head to the polls on Tuesday to decide who will be the next U.S. president.

William Hill Sportsbook & Racebook spokesperson Graham Sharpe said on Monday that the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has "smashed" all previous election betting records, calling it the "biggest betting turnover for any political event" with an estimated £20 million "riding on the outcome industry-wide."

"William Hill alone is about to exceed a £4 million turnover for the first time on any political event, and with the result still too close to call, we anticipate a political bets bonanza in the closing hours of the election campaign," he added.

As of this morning, Clinton, the Democratic nominee, had been bet back to the heavy favorite at -550 in most spots, but the market has seen some tumultuous shifts as of late. In fact, Sharpe said that Trump's odds have been shortened 10 times in the last two weeks at William Hill.

Clinton has been a heavy favorite for much of the campaign. Her odds climaxed at 1-to-9 in mid-October after tapes surfaced of Trump making crude remarks 11 years ago to an "Access Hollywood" TV show host. But her odds went to as low as -280 after FBI Director James Comey dropped a bombshell by sending a letter to Congress on 28 October, saying the bureau discovered e-mails in a separate investigation that could be connected to the previously-closed probe of whether Clinton mishandled classified information.

Over the weekend the money started to come back in on Clinton after Comey wrote in a new letter to congressional committee chairmen that the agency hasn't changed its opinion that Clinton should not face criminal charges after a review of the e-mails.

According to Sharpe, a William Hill London-based telephone client staked £150,000 on the Democratic nominee this morning at 1/5 odds (83% chance), while Trump, who opened as a 150-to-1 longshot to win the presidency last year when he launched his campaign, fell to 7/2 (22%).

William Hill reported that 69% of the individual bets it has taken have been for Trump, but 74% of all the stake money is on Clinton.
"The campaign has mirrored Brexit in that there have been far more individual bets for the outsider," Sharpe added, "But the biggest bets have been on the favorite."

One of those bets was from another female online client who made the largest election bet William Hill has ever taken, a whopping 550,000 euros, meaning she will cash in for 220,000 if Clinton prevails.

Another unknown female punter staked a total of £183,200 with two different wagers on Clinton, according to Sharpe.

"The lady arrived at the shop almost before the door had been unlocked, telling staff that she is so convinced that Hillary will win she wanted to add to her bet or, as she called it, investment," said Sharpe.

As for Trump backers, two William Hill clients will pocket £100,000 if Trump wins – John Mappin from Cornwall, and a Nottingham man who bet £37,000 on him.

According to Paul Krishnamurty, a professional gambler and independent political analyst who regularly contributes to Politico, Betfair Sportsbook & Racebook and, Clinton's odds on the exchange market moved from 1.20 to 1.44 last week, but she then went back to a 1.29 chance, which equates to a 78% likelihood, with Trump trading at 4.40 (22%).

Krishnamurty, who has publicly backed Clinton to win from the start of the campaign, said that the attention Comey’s letter received last month from the betting markets was unwarranted.

Over the weekend, Krishnamurty wrote, "Three days out from the conclusion of the most incredible election cycle and biggest political betting event in history, the verdict of Betfair punters remains the same as it has ever since the market opened — Hillary Clinton will be the next U.S. President."
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