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Political Betting – Can You Win Money Betting on Politics?

Staff Writer in Soccer Betting Strategies 25 Jul 2023

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If you dig into betting site fixtures long enough, you end up finding all sorts of interesting offers and markets. One such speciality betting option is Politics – or rather, betting on politics such as the outcomes of presidential elections. 

Political betting is nothing new to online sportsbooks. Although sometimes controversial, it’s one of the most common fixtures on sports betting sites that don’t actually involve sport. For decades, punters have viewed it as a sort of fun distraction. It’s certainly entertaining, but it doesn’t offer the consistency and value needed for serious long-term betting.

Or does it?

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of betting on politics. We’ll go through what it involves, how to bet on politics, and whether you can actually make any money off it.

What is Political Betting?

The term is fairly self-explanatory, so we won’t spend too much time explaining it.

As the name implies, the term refers to bets placed on the outcomes of political events. In most cases, this involves some sort of election. They can be presidential, parliamentary, local, or any other type of election.

In practice, it is nearly identical to any other type of sports bet. Political betting odds are offered based on the likelihood of a particular outcome. For instance, if you’re betting on presidential elections, the most likely winner pays the shortest odds. If you predict correctly, you win.

Politics bet offers are available on most betting sites these days. They’re a novelty market for sure, but they’re still quite popular – especially around major events such as the US presidential election. If you need suggestions for good bookmakers to bet on politics, check out this page.

Political Betting Markets

You may or may not be surprised to hear that political betting offers several types of betting markets. Of course, not all of these are available on all sportsbooks. Some can be fairly rare, and many bookies only offer basic options such as Outrights.

Still, it’s worth knowing what you can bet on. Here are some examples of Political betting markets we’ve seen over the years.

  • Outright Bets – The most basic form boils down to predicting the winner of an election. In that regard, this market is not much different from soccer outright betting. Just pick your candidate and hope for the best.
  • Head-to-Head Bets – This market predicts which of two candidates will end up drawing more votes. It’s worth noting that in many cases these wagers are not significantly different from Outrights. After all, most elections come down to two major candidates. 
  • Over/Under Betting – Though quite rare, we’ve seen bookies offer Over/Under markets for political elections. For instance, you could predict that a candidate will have more/fewer than X votes.
  • Prop Bets – Beyond that, betting sites sometimes offer odds on seemingly unrelated events. For instance, we’ve seen betting offers for predicting the length of a presidential debate, or the main talking points of a campaign. In short, creative bookies occasionally offer odds for pretty much anything. One well-known example is when Paddy Power infamously offered odds on whether then-US president Obama would be assassinated before the end of his term.

Pros & Cons

The next question we’re going to answer is why you should or shouldn’t bet on politics in the first place.

We’ll do so by going through the advantages and disadvantages of this form of wagering. This should give you an idea of whether it’s worth the investment or not.

Advantages

  • Value in Unpredictability – To many, elections and referendums can be even less predictable than sports. If you know how betting value works, you understand that this leaves a window of opportunity to get some very good bets. If not, we recommend you check out our guide to understanding value in betting
  • Excitement – Politics impact the real world much more significantly than any sports match. That’s scary to some, but exciting to others, and this level of real-world impact can add a new level of fun to your punting.
  • Beginner-friendly – Wrapping your head around the whole idea is not overly difficult. Besides, most of us have at least a vague idea of what’s going on in the world of politics. Sports, on the other hand, require specialist knowledge that takes years to build up.
  • Novelty – Exotic betting markets such as these exist to “spice up” your regular routine. Moreover, the idea of betting on presidential elections can be interesting even to those who never considered football punting.
  • Potentially educational – Researching your political betting predictions often involves a lot of political analysis. That’s a fairly fascinating conversation starter, isn’t it?

Disadvantages

  • High margins – Bookmakers often have wide margins on political betting offers. To translate, you’re not likely to find good odds, and digging up value is even harder. There are several reasons for this state of affairs. For starters, politics betting odds are not overly competitive, so bookies don’t worry too much about competitors taking over their customers. Also, elections are often unpredictable even to experts, which makes setting odds a daunting task.
  • Lack of opportunities – When it comes down to it, bookies don’t offer odds on too many political events. It boils down to a few major elections, referendums, and the like. Even if we take into account party elections as well as parliamentary, senate, or congressional elections, we’re still only up to a few dozen events every few years or so.
  • Narrow coverage – You’ll never see bookies offering odds for elections from smaller countries. They’re too hard to set odds for, and there ultimately isn’t much interest. Most political betting revolves around the United States, the United Kingdom, and a few major European nations.
  • Low payout limits – Payouts for winning political bets usually have harsher restrictions on how much you can win.

Strategy Tips

Winning any real money, in the long run, is next to impossible with bets on politics. You can just check out the pros and cons to find out why. In short, there aren’t enough offers to earn significant cash flow, and it’s very hard to find betting value. Politics can never really replace a sport such as football when it comes to punting, but they can introduce some welcome variety.

However, we can still offer some strategy tips that can help you out. 

  • Stay on top of predictions and polling numbers – Election candidate polls and statistics are your bread and butter for bets on politics. They tell you who the favourites are, who the underdogs are, and the approximate likelihood of each candidate winning. They can be wrong, mind you – do we need to remind you of the 2016 US presidential race?
  • Research multiple sources – If you really want to get serious, you’ll want to hear experts from the world of politics. Analysts, journalists, whatever – as long as they have a valuable perspective on the event in question. However, keep in mind that sources can be very biased when it comes to presenting information. 
  • Bide your time – The most common way to screw up an outright bet is to wager too early. Spend some time observing the candidates, their campaigns, and polling numbers and trends. You might find that a candidate looks much more or less promising as election day draws closer.
  • Hunt for the best odds – Political predictions can vary wildly depending on who you ask to give their opinion. Similarly, different bookies can offer significantly different odds. Compare several bookmakers and their fixtures before putting down any money.
  • Use bonuses – If you’re concerned about value, you can always use bonuses to swing things in your favour. Check out this page to find the latest betting promotions, enhanced odds, and other bonuses.

Conclusion

That’s everything you need to know about political betting. Ultimately, it’s both a complex topic and a straightforward way to bet, which is why so many people find it interesting. It’s just a shame that finding opportunities to wager on politics is so difficult.

If you need more tips, guides, and strategies for betting, click here to check out our collection of articles. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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