With less than three weeks to go before Americans head to the polls to vote for their next president, bookmaker Paddy Power has decided to forgo the ballot box count and announce Hillary Clinton as the next Commander-in-Chief.
If the Irish sportsbook is correct, Mrs Clinton will become the 45th President of the United States, but it would be certainly be a landmark occasion, as she would be the first female to hold that office. Not only that, she would be the first spouse of a previous president ever to do so too.
So what makes Paddy Power believe the Democrat has the upper hand over the Republican’s nominee, the brash hotel magnate Donald Trump? As the company states on its blog:
"With national polls showing a healthy lead for the Democratic candidate and Donald Trump’s campaign running into scandal after scandal, Paddy Power believes it’s a done deal and that Hillary is a nailed-on certainty to occupy the Oval Office."
An official Paddy Power spokesman elaborated on the decision to pay out $1.1m in winnings weeks before the official tally:
"Trump gave it a hell of a shot going from a rank outsider to the Republican candidate, but the recent flood of revelations have halted his momentum and his chances now look as patchy as his tan. Recent betting trends have shown one-way traffic for Hillary and punters seemed to have called it 100 per cent correct. Despite Trump’s 'Make America Great Again' message appealing to many disillusioned voters, it looks as though America are going to put a woman in the White House."
Paddy Power backed up their argument by analysing the numbers and how they translate to real-world events:
"The Donald had seen his initial odds of 100/1 (November 2012-June 2015) freefall to as short as 13/8 (May 2016) at one point but recent revelations have halted his momentum and caused his chances of victory to plummet like the value of sterling, resulting in chunky odds of 9/2 (representing a 18.2 per cent chance of winning, as of October 20)."
This is not the first time Paddy Power has paid out early in an American presidential campaign. The bookmaker paid out for Barack Obama’s second term win in 2012, two days before the votes had been counted, to the tune of $700,000. However, it has also made the wrong call early too.
Paddy Power suffered a very public humiliation in 2015 when it paid out tens of thousands in winnings based on bets about whether Greece would accept or reject an austerity package from the EU. The bookmaker had believed the country’s population would vote it through and started paying out days early, before 61% voted no.
While Paddy Power’s pre-emptive payout may have deflated the hotly contested election, there are still several other categories that punters can bet on. The biggest one, apart from who will actually win, is how many voters will actually turn out to vote. The fact that the campaigns have been marred by a vitriol not seen before could cause voters to turn out en masse to make sure they are heard.
Celebrity-led campaigns to raise awareness to vote, like the humorous one directed by Joss Whedon, could also possibly increase this category. Every election since 2000 has been above 50%, although 2008’s election, which saw Barack Obama sworn in as the first black president, had the highest at 57.1%. Four years later, the turnout for his re-election dropped to 54.9%.
The bookmakers are offering the best odds around these areas, although at 5/1, voter turnout being less than 49.99% could be worth a look. There are also some special bets that may pique punters’ interests. For example, there are Impeachment Specials, which pay out if the winning nominee has to resign during their first term due to being impeached.
Paddy Power currently have Clinton at 14/1, and given that the email scandal refuses to disappear, this could be worth a look. So if you fancy a flutter on individual American vote markets, or voter turnout, then head over to Paddy Power today! If you join now, Paddy Power will give you a £30 free bet.