During the height of last year’s presidential campaign, as political pundits roundly dismissed Donald Trump’s odds of winning as a laughable longshot, online betting markets like PredictIt largely predicted the upset outcome.
Today, in the wake of a disastrous week – one defined by the curiously timed firing of James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and a subsequent series of incriminating public comments – President Trump has seen his chances of completing a first term fall under 65 percent.
Per the PredictIt website, which offers real-time wagering on political elections and events, the price of a “No” contract on the question “Will Donald Trump be President at Year-End 2017?” fell to a low of 63 cents on May 17.
On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein revealed that former FBI Director Robert Mueller had been named as Special Counsel. In that role, Mueller will serve as an independent prosecutor, tasked with overseeing the federal government’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump, or members of his campaign, and the Russian government during the 2016 election.
Today, the PredictIt platform – which uses a pricing scheme ranging between $0.00 to $1.00 as a way of assessing odds – puts the likelihood of Trump leaving office before year’s end at 26 percent.
However, the exact method and means of that departure are less clear.
On the particular issue of impeachment in 2017, PredictIt bettors have moved the needle on Congressional action against the President from a peak of 33 percent on May 17 to 19 percent as of today.
Other online wagering sites are getting into the action as well, with Bovada spreading a series of Trump-based bets.
The most prominent among Bovada’s menu of Presidential wagers concerns the “exit date” for Trump. Bettors who think he’ll leave office in 2017 are getting (+150), while wagers on a 2018 departure come in at (+250). An exit date of 2019 is the longshot at (+700), and those who think Trump will survive the ongoing scandals until his term ends naturally in 2020 enjoy favorite status at (+130).
On the question of “Will Trump Complete a Full Term as POTUS?,” the Bovada oddsmakers favor “No” at (-160). When betting on Trump making it through four full years, Bovada offers an incentive of (+120).
Over on the Irish-based betting site Paddy Power, the initial impeachment odds of (+1600) when Trump was inaugurated have plummeted to just (+300).
Paddy Power spokesman Lee Price spoke with CNBC to offer comment on the historically narrowed odds on a Trump impeachment:
“We’ve been betting on impeachment for all recent U.S. presidents but, even at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton was only ever 6-1 to be impeached.”
The odds of Trump failing to complete his first term via any route are even better on Paddy Power, which offers (-150) on the President resigning, dying, or otherwise leaving office before 2020.
Election bettors may remember Paddy Power for an infamous snafu this past October, when the site made an early election call in Hillary Clinton’s favor – even going so far as to pay out more than $1 million in “winning” wagers before the November 8 vote. When Trump completed the historic upset, Paddy Power made good on the mistake and honored its Hillary-to-win wagers.
The U.K.-based sportsbook Betfair reported to MarketWatch that betting activity on Trump-related props has skyrocketed since the Comey firing and associated scandals.
On the day Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, Betfair spokesperson Katie Baylis told MarketWatch that the site now favors an early Trump exit:
“Overnight we’ve seen more than [£5,000] bet on Trump to leave before the end of his first term, and we expect to see a lot more bet today, with his odds now shortening from evens into 5/6.”
And many punters think it won’t be too long before he departs, with the odds of him leaving this year now into 12/5 from 11/2 – a 27 percent chance [up] from 16 percent before the latest allegations.”