The specifics of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address tonight will be heavily wagered on, as internet bookmakers offer up a smorgasbord of prop betting markets.
Gambling on political events is predominantly illegal in the US. One exception is PredictIt, an online exchange where bettors buy and sell shares of political outcomes.
PredictIt has several SOTU markets. They include:
Will Trump mention “fake news” in SOTU? Yes 16 cents, No 84 cents
Viewership for SOTU? “42.4 million or fewer” is the favorite at 39 cents
Will Trump mention Russia in SOTU? Yes 67 cents, No 33 cents
PredictIt operates in the US under a “no-action relief” from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Market Oversight. Research compiled by PredictIt is made openly available to an array of research partners. Winning shares are paid at $1 each.
The SOTU was originally scheduled for January 29, but as a result of the federal government shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) postponed the address.
As for the 2020 presidential election, PredictIt has the incumbent Trump the favorite at 30 cents. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) is next at 16 cents, and former VP Joe Biden (D) third at 12 cents.
PredictIt sticks to serious matters, but other online sportsbooks venture into more controversial – and sometimes downright silly – prop bets.
Online sportsbook BetDSI has a laundry list of State of the Union novelty lines.
There are some serious offerings: Who will President Trump mention first in his remarks? Vice President Mike Pence is the favorite at +150, while Pelosi (D) has the longest odds at +800. Oddsmakers believe the president will sport a red tie (+300), while First Lady Melania Trump will wear a blue dress (+400).
Then there’s the comical lines.
If President Trump says “Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York),” will he mispronounce the name? Yes is at -200, and No +150, which means oddsmakers believe he will indeed mispronounce the freshman congresswoman’s name should he say it.
Pelosi is also the subject of prop betting, as online site Bovada asks if the president will use a nickname to reference the speaker. The sportsbooks believe that’s a small chance, as No -2500 is the heavy favorite.
Gamblers can also predict whether the president will say “wall” or “huge” more during the speech. “Wall” is the favorite at -400, and “huge the underdog at +300.
What to Expect
Officials with the Trump administration tell reporters to expect a message of unity Tuesday night. It’s a stark contrast from what’s been happening in DC over the last several months.
The primary issue will be the southern border wall, which prompted last month’s government shutdown. Trump is demanding more than $5 billion, but congressional Democrats aren’t giving in.
The refusal of both sides to compromise led to a 35-day partial government shutdown that affected roughly 800,000 federal employees. Tuesday will be the president’s first SOTU where Pelosi and the Democrats will occupy the House speakership directly behind where the commander-in-chief will address congress and the nation.