|“Trading exchanges' have started taking bets on the 2004 US elections. So if you think Howard Dean stands a snowball in hell’s chance of beating G.W. Bush, it could be worth a punt while the prices are still good.|
A 70-cent bet on a Bush reelection pays $1 if he wins next year, according to odds offered recently at Irish online exchange Tradesports.com. So a 30-cent bet on whoever turns out to be the Democratic nominee will get you $1 should Bush lose. Since trading opened, bets on Bush have been in the 58 cents to 73 cents range.
If the Democratic nomination is your bet, a 51-cents wins you $1 if Howard Dean wins the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt is trading at 42 cents, followed by Sen. John Kerry at 1.2 cents.
The Iowa Electronic Markets, a futures exchange, has Dean at 68 cents on the dollar, Wesley Clark at 11 cents, Gephardt at 8 cents, Hillary Clinton at 5 cents, Kerry at 3 cents and Joe Lieberman at a penny.
Some punters think there are bargains to be had. Bethesda businessman Tom Skinner recommends buying Bush to win Arkansas at 65 cents and West Virginia at 63 cents, but selling Bush at an overpriced 86 cents in Arizona and 73 cents in New Mexico.