One week on from polls closing, we in the UK have witnessed from afar what’s turned out to be a historic US presidential election. With a record voter turn-out, Joe Biden was announced president-elect on Saturday after winning enough of the electoral college to hold a majority. To date, Biden has won 290 electoral college votes to Donald Trump’s 214.
While Democrats across the nation erupted in cheers and excitement at the news, some unlucky folks on both sides of the political spectrum can’t celebrate just yet.
The election still isn’t over for those who placed a bet. Due to potential legal disputes, many bookmakers have announced they will not pay out winnings until the results are certain.
Paddy Power told impatient gamblers on Monday it was waiting “until there is clarity around any ongoing recounts and any potential legal challenges before we can settle the market.”
This is due to Trump’s unwillingness to issue the traditional concession. Though voter fraud is extremely rare, he disputes the results in key states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nevada.
The next step of this process remains unclear. It is not certain how many recounts will be issued and how long it will take for Trump to accept defeat. However, sources say it is unlikely that the outcome of this election will change, so those who bet on Biden should receive their winnings eventually.
The largest bet on record for Biden’s win was £1 million – Betfair’s third-largest wager ever and another example of online betting thriving during lockdown. This anonymous person will have to be patient for their £540,000 payout on top of the original stake.
The result is especially unfortunate for Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who tweeted as the polls closed on 3 November that he had placed a £10,000 bet on Trump’s re-election.
He even shared a picture of himself in Washington D.C. holding a sign displaying the 15-8 bet, declaring he was “absolutely optimistic” of winning – a confident gesture in response to former attorney Michael Cohen, who put down $10,000 on Biden’s victory.
Just over two hours after Biden’s victory was declared, Cohen tweeted to say he had won the bet at odds of 1-2 and will donate his winnings to the ACLU, a non-profit organisation that works to defend the individual rights of American citizens under the constitution.
We wonder what Farage would (or perhaps still could!) spend his winnings on if Trump had won.
Editor’s note: Since publishing, the Trump campaign has spent $3 million on two major recounts, resulting in 257 new votes for Biden and demonstrating no significant evidence of voter fraud. Most betting providers have settled and started making payouts to those who bet for Biden, including BetFred on 15 December, which caused a huge response from frustrated Trump betters on social media. One such better, @jrw1672, claims to have lost their life savings. Trump has infamously bankrupted 7 businesses (including three casinos), but we hope not ordinary people.