Presidential election bets now exceed US$500 million
By abigail
It has been revealed that the current tally of political bets being placed trying to anticipate the outcome of the Bush versus Kerry election is estimated to be in excess of US$500 million. This election is generating a lot of interest, and with all predictors admitting that the outcome is a tough one to predict, punters have been responding with an increasing involvement being observed by sites which offer political wagering.

So far have seen 3500 bets of a political nature being placed. Gregor Weiss, the bet manager for the online betting site commented, “The closer we get to the election date, the more people are betting on it”. Another site which is offering odds on the outcome, has seen a lesser number of 500 bets on the political battle, but the total amount wagered is currently US$19,000.

Meanwhile, a political futures website have registered US$500 million worth of bets in the lead up to the election. Weiss of Intertops offered the explanation of the political interest being generated in online bettors, that: “People bet on reality shows, they bet on weather, on all kinds of sports, obviously. On anything that’s in the news, especially anything that has one of two outcomes”. A political scientist at the University of Southern California, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, also believes that betting on the outcome of the presidential election, also offers an opportunity for the public “of articulating their support. It’s almost a pre-vote vote.” This kind of inclination, is one of the reasons why the odds being offered on sites are often used by analysts as one of the benchmarks for trying to predict the outcome of the November election, although it is often qualified as being an insight into the current public reaction to the news available on candidates at the time. Closer to the date of the actual election, the weight of betting on either side will be more of a true barometer of what the possible outcome will be.

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