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US Election Shatters Political Betting Records, Brits Trade Almost $800 Million on Betfair

The 2020 US presidential election proved, as expected, to be the biggest political betting event the world has ever seen.

Betfair saw around 3 million wagers in the UK alone, as Brits caught the US election betting bug. (Image: LGT)

Betfair, the world’s biggest betting exchange, said Wednesday around £600 million ($793 million) was traded on the platform in the UK alone from 3 million individual bets. That’s a spend of £9 ($11.90) per head across the country’s entire population.

One customer placed a £1 million ($1.32 million) bet on Biden through Betfair and now expects to collect £1.54 million ($2 million).

Election Betting Market Got it Right

And the Betfair market as a predictive model wasn’t far off the mark. The Betfair electoral college prediction was around 290 to Biden, pretty accurate compared with the runaway Biden victory predicted by some pollsters and modelers. It should be noted that the total is not official and is being challenged in court amid claims of voter fraud.

On election day, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight was predicting an 88 percent chance of victory for Biden, while in London The Economist magazine’s model gave the Democratic candidate a whopping 96 percent chance of winning.

The $600 million traded through the Betfair platform was more than twice that of the last US election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, when around $250 million was wagered.

Betfair itself said on the eve of the election that it predicted betting on the event to exceed the £1 billion mark, industrywide.

Online Explodes for Flutter

The news came as Betfair’s parent company Flutter Entertainment reported burgeoning Q3 profits, thanks to a surge in the popularity of online play. Revenues as a whole for the period were up 30 percent to £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) when compared to last year.

Online revenue grew 33 percent, while average daily customers increased by 41 percent globally. New customer acquisition was more than 450,000 in Q3.

Flutter also said it retained its position as market leader for online sports betting in the US, with a 46 percent market share through its FanDuel and FoxBet brands.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said the company was on track to generate more than $1.1 billion of GGR in the US this year, which will mark a major “first” for an online operator.

“We are now a truly global business, with significant scale,” Jackson said. “Flutter’s performance in the third quarter exceeded our expectations in both sports and gaming. Our strong trading continued as we grew market share in key regions while retaining our commitment to safer gambling practices.

“Looking ahead, whilst the outlook with respect to Covid-19 remains uncertain, we are confident that our business is well positioned to capture further growth in a sustainable and responsible way.”

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