Bookies Suspend Election Betting As Trump Contracts Covid-19
UK bookmakers have suspended their US election betting markets after President Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus.
The White House confirmed the president and his wife Melania have Covid-19 and are in isolation.
On Thursday Trump tweeted: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
He is just one of a string of world leaders – including UK prime minister Boris Johnson and president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro – to contract the disease.
And with Americans set to vote for their next president in just five weeks’ time, bookmakers have decided to pull their UK election odds for the time being at least.
US Election Betting Suspended
The reason for the market suspension is likely to avoid bettors piling in on the odds as they currently sit.
Before the news of Trump contracting Covid broke, the incumbent was 6/5 to win the election, in contrast to favourite Joe Biden at 3/4.
But Biden’s price was likely to have plummeted had bookmakers kept their markets open.
A spokesperson for Ladbrokes said: “We have temporarily taken the US Election markets down as we await further updates – this is standard procedure and we wish Donald and Melania Trump well.”
Trump Trailing In Polls
How Trump’s health affects the rest of the election campaign remains to be seen. The president is scheduled to hold a number of rallies between now and polling day, while he is set for two more head-to-head TV debates with Biden.
Trump is thought to have ‘lost’ the first debate, with a CBS News poll finding Biden had a 48-41 per cent backing of TV viewers.
The president has previously been dismissive of the need to wear a face mask in the fight against coronavirus, and neither he nor his family wore a mask for the first debate in Ohio last month.
Biden had led Trump by as much as eight points in the polls, and appeared to have gained ground in key swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin before news of Trump’s illness.
It also remains to be seen whether or not testing positive for Covid-19 will have an affect on Trump’s poll ratings — but Johnson saw his approval ratings skyrocket in April when it was confirmed he had contracted the virus.
Notably, the US stock market reacted with volatility to Trump’s announcement, with Wall Street’s S&P 500 index falling 0.7 per cent within half an hour of opening on Friday.
It followed falls in stock values across Asia and Europe, while recent US employment data shows only 661,000 new payrolls were added in the month of September, down from the 850,000 predicated by analysts.
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