How to Bet on Politics – The Complete Guide to Politics Betting

Politics betting is one the fastest-growing markets in the US and there are tons of wagering opportunities available. If you’re wondering how to bet on politics, we’ll walk you through the betting markets, popular events to bet on, and our top tips and strategies.

Example of a Politics Bet

To demonstrate an example of a politics bet, we’ll use a popular market in UK politics for the next Labour Party Leader.

politics betting guide - next labour party leader uk

This is a snapshot of some of the many candidates to choose from as the next potential leader (there are 40+ in this market alone). You’ll find that some are there for comedy value as much as anything, though, with the likes of Tony Blair and Richard Burgon included at a whopping +50000.

Our betting example shows a typical outline for markets with multiple candidates that are less straightforward than yes/no or party v party bets.

The odds you see are American style, which is the most common amongst US-facing online sportsbooks. Each number represents the returns linked to $100 bets.

A positive number shows the profit you make for a $100 bet, and a negative number is the amount you need to wager to make a $100 profit.

As you can see, the favorite, Rachel Reeves, is priced at +475. For a favorite in any betting market, this is long.

It’s worth noting that the betting site will calculate the return based on odds within the betting slip, so you don’t have to bet round numbers like $100. You can also use bet return calculators to see the same information.

Politics betting is very easy to track and follow, which is why it’s a popular betting market for those new to the online gambling sector.

Is it Legal to Bet on Politics in the United States?

The current legal status in the US means that you are prohibited from betting on any political events, be it domestically or internationally, from regulated betting sites based in the country.

The flip side of this is that offshore gambling sites do allow you to bet on politics as they do not adhere to US gambling regulations. This may seem like conflicting legalities, but the reality is that political betting is very popular in the vast majority of countries apart from US-regulated sportsbooks.

US flag
Image: Pixabay

How Politics Betting Works

The vast majority of political betting markets are based on the results of votes. You’re often betting on people or parties to be elected into office or a position of power. It’s a simple process and one of the more exciting betting markets to track.

Alternatives to this include specials or prop bets, as they’re commonly known. This might be a range of things, but it is usually linked to single-person markets.

For example, BetOnline is currently running prop bets on a series of Joe Biden props, including his approval rate, whether he will be indicted, leave office, and even serve jail time before a set date.

Types of Politics Bets

Politics betting is much bigger than most think. Below we’ve include a list of the types of bets you can place and information on how each of them works.

Election WinnerParty MajorityReferendum and PropositionPolitical LeaderImpeachment‘First to’Voter TurnoutPolicy PropositionInternational EventPolitical PropExit PollRe-Election

Election Winner

This market is where you bet on the overall winner of an election. The US presidential election and the UK general election are the most popular markets.

Party Majority

Betting on the party majority is where you choose the party that wins the most votes, eg the Republican party. This is a good market to use before announcing the leading candidate.

Referendum and Proposition

Betting on referendums and propositions includes the likes of Brexit in the UK, or state-level propositions that occur throughout the US.

Political Leader

Betting on who you think will be the next political leader of a party or group, eg Joe Biden. In the UK, this market is much more volatile as leaders are announced and stay in term for multiple parties, but interestingly can resign or be sacked at any time.

Impeachment

Impeachment is where charges are brought to a government official who is in office and can be tried in a court of law. You can bet on if charges are made and if the party is found guilty.

‘First to’

This market is where you can bet on parties or persons to become the first to hit a certain milestone. The range of markets for this is huge but can include the first to announce candidacy or even the first to hit one million followers on social media.

Voter Turnout

This is betting on the turnout of voters for betting purposes. In the US, it can be broken down across overall voter numbers and by state. Some even create markets for turnout numbers based on age brackets, although these are less common.

Policy Proposition

Politics is all about policies, and betting on whether certain policies will be in place by a set time is another popular politics betting market. Interestingly, there have been several markets recently about legislation for online betting in the US, with markets targeting which will be the next to pass legislation and legalize it.

International Event

Betting on international peace treaties or global summits can be accessed with most betting sites. The markets vary, but votes usually occur at each meeting, such as countries becoming carbon-neutral by a certain time.

Political Prop

Prop bets are arguably the most exciting bets in politics. This is an “everything else” and sportsbooks have been known to get pretty random with these markets. Some of the most unconventional have been:

  • Which politicians will have the most social media followers by a certain date?
  • Will “X” politicians appear on a TV show or movie?
  • Over/under bets on the total length of speeches made.
  • Odds on certain phrases being said and even over/under lines on the most popular ones.

Exit Poll

Exit polls are early indicators of how an election is shaping up. However, as we know from the Trump/Clinton race in 2016, the polls aren’t always accurate. In fact, the sportsbooks were one step ahead of the exit polls for this race. Bookmakers are often closer with predictions than the polls.

Re-Election

For this market, you’re betting on whether the winner or current leader will be re-elected. It’s a good way to get in early to find value and is one of the most popular futures political betting markets around.

Political Events to Bet On

The political landscape is always moving and evolving. Each country has certain protocols for how voting works, and this creates a series of diverse betting opportunities.

Below we’ve covered a range of political events that you can bet on from around the world.

US Presidential ElectionUS Midterm ElectionsUS Senate ElectionsUS House of RepresentativesIndictmentsWorld LeadersUK General ElectionInternational Treaties

US Presidential Election

The US presidential election is arguably the most wagered-on political event in the world. This is for the leader of the free world, and the result affects not only those living in the US but also those outside. The main market is betting on the winning party, but as you can imagine, dozens of betting options run alongside this, especially regarding prop bets. Check out our guide to betting on the presidential election for more information and tips.

US Midterm Elections

The US midterms occur halfway through the president’s term, seen as a two-year evaluation of how they’ve performed so far. The votes elect members of Congress, which includes 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 100 seats in the Senate, which is a third.

US Senate Elections

Senate elections occur every two years, with 100 seats in total from states across the country. Each state gets to vote for a Democrat or Republican candidate to lead them. Betting markets for these votes are vast, given that each state is covered. It will depend on the state as to the range of betting markets.

US House of Representatives

The US House of Representatives is voted on every two years to determine all 435 seats. Betting markets include selective state representation, whether Democrats or Republicans and the overall bet can be wagered on the political party that wins the most seats. This is often a fairly tight race, and it’s worth getting in early before lines move sharply near voting time.

Indictments

The hysteria around Donald Trump’s indictments has caused huge waves in the gambling sector. There are now dozens of markets linked to the topic, mainly because of the intricacies around how it works. Obviously, these markets aren’t just for Trump and could apply to any politician, but it just so happens that Trump has almost made this market cool again.

Betting options cover a range of markets. Lots of them are linked to individual states, where you can bet on the number of guilty counts within that state. Hush money is another popular one (again, mainly attributed to Trump), along with whether they will be convicted before a set date, if a plea will be bargained, and ultimately, if they will go to jail.

World Leaders

Many betting markets outside of the US are centered around world leaders, especially their next move. One of the most popular bets is the next world leader to leave. There are also specific markets for high-profile leaders. For example, the date on which Vladimir Putin will no longer be the leader of Russia, with options for different years from 2024 up to 2030 or later.

UK General Election

From a betting perspective, the only market that challenges the US presidential election in terms of the volume of bets placed is the UK General Election. These occur every 5 years but can be sooner if one is called. It’s not uncommon for leaders of political parties in the UK to resign before their term is up, and when this occurs, markets such as the next leader for that party increase in popularity.

International Treaties

Events such as Brexit in the UK and the Paris Climate Agreement, which Donald Trump famously withdrew from, have propelled the betting ranks over recent years. The format is very familiar in that you can bet on the outcome of votes. Brexit was one of the biggest political upsets in recent history, with a 76% chance that the UK would remain in the UK before ultimately leaving with a 52% market share of votes. Such swings created huge wins and losses, especially on the exchanges where sportsbooks reported one of the most volatile political betting markets ever.

How to Choose a Political Betting Site

With offshore sportsbooks, you can access a huge range of markets and promotions linked to politics betting. There’s a lot to digest, and knowing which sportsbook to choose from can be hard.

To help answer how to bet on politics, we’ve created five points you can apply to choosing the right political betting site.

  1. Look for a range of politics markets: The sportsbook needs to have the types of markets that you want to bet on. For example, if you solely want to be on US Presidential races, then most sites will have this. But if you want to bet on General Elections in Finland, you need to be more selective, as it’s what we would describe as a niche market.
  2. Search for competitive odds: Line shopping is where you use multiple sportsbooks to find the best odds available. Politics can move exceptionally quickly, and the odds vary from site to site. A single social media post saying the wrong thing by a candidate can send shock waves, and it’s up to you to jump on sites that haven’t changed odds to maximize value.
  3. Use multiple sportsbooks: To get the best odds, you need access to more than one sportsbook. We recommend that you have three to five betting accounts that are live and funded with an amount you can afford to lose. This ensures you’re getting the best possible price or as close to it as possible.
  4. Find political bonuses and promotions: As General Elections and Presidential races draw nearer, some sites will have sportsbook bonuses and promotions you can claim. One of the most common is an odds boost, where the sportsbook increases the price for a specific bet. Even small boosts can create massive value, especially if you were to convert the implied probability for the odds.
  5. Check for educational resources: Sportsbooks that go above and beyond with educational resources such as betting guides and tips for politics are worth targeting. These guides can give you information about which markets might offer value and where the money has been heading in the lead-up.

How to Bet on Politics – Step-by-Step Guide

The best way to highlight how to bet on politics is to use a step-by-step guide with the best online sportsbook in the industry, BetOnline. This will showcase not only how to place a bet but also how to create an account and claim the welcome bonus.

  1. Open the BetOnline sportsbook

    To get started, open the BetOnline sportsbook and click on the “Join” button at the top of the page.
    Open the BetOnline sportsbook
  2. Open an account

    To create an account, you must fill out the form on the screen. This includes information such as name, email address, password, country, zip code, phone number, and date of birth. Ensure you can access the email address you provide, as you will need it to verify your account.
    Open an account
  3. Log in and claim the welcome bonus

    When you’ve verified your account, you will be able to log in. Click the “Login” button at the top of the page and enter your username and password. Next, click the cashier button and choose one of the welcome offers. You will need to use a BetOnline promo code to get started.
    Log in and claim the welcome bonus
  4. Deposit and head to the sportsbook

    Make a deposit using any of the payment methods linked to your account. Once this has been confirmed, head back to the sportsbook and use the menu section to find politics. Choose a market of your choice.
    Deposit and head to the sportsbook
  5. Place a bet

    To place a bet, click on the odds to add the selection to the bet slip. Within the bet slip, confirm your pick and enter a stake. It will tell you how much you’re set to win should the bet be successful. Take a second to double check and then click “Place Bet” at the bottom of the page.
    Place a bet

If you are feeling ready to start betting on politics, we’d suggest signing up with BetOnline if you want to access the best odds and widest range of politics betting markets:

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Politics Betting Tips and Strategies

At this point, you should know how to bet on politics, so now it’s time to make some money. We’ve created a series of political betting strategies and tips that you can use to increase profitability.

1. Avoid Political Bias

It’s imperative to be aware of your own political bias and remove that when it comes to betting. Allowing these to affect you will cloud your judgment, and ultimately, you may miss opportunities of value.

To do this, avoid using research sources that solely align with your political beliefs. If you have strong beliefs, actively research counterarguments for that point, which could help balance the books in determining which markets to bet on.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by looking at current odds for political betting markets and understanding why something might be as it is. Just because you don’t like someone it doesn’t mean that’s how the vote will go, and when betting, that’s all that matters.

Trump is one of the most divisive politicians of all time, but lots of people have made a lot of money betting on or against him when they remove their political bias.

2. Shop for the Best Betting Lines

The best betting strategy is to simply look for the best odds possible at all times. The amount of extra money you can make for placing the same bet can be massive, and you should never underestimate the increase in ROI for doing just this.

politics betting odds comparison

For example, let’s assume you want an outside bet on Michelle Obama to be the next US President. The image above compares multiple sportsbooks ranging from odds of 11/1 (+1100) up to 14/1 (+1400).

In monetary terms, this means that for every $100 you wager, you would profit an extra $300 for placing at 14/1 over 11/1 for the exact same bet. Take your time to find the best odds and attack it aggressively.

3. Do Your Research

You need to stay in the loop, and you need reliable sources to ensure the news is reliable. Finding news sites that don’t lean one way or another is not easy, but they are out there.

We would recommend staying clear of social media for the most part unless you’re 100% sure that accounts have no bias.

You can use sites like the Associated Press, Reuters, National Public Radio, and PBS News Hour in the US. None of these outlets have political ties, so the news you get from there will be relatively unbiased.

For UK political news, try the BBC. Generally, in the UK, news platforms have a much lower political bias than in the US, meaning most of the mainstream media will be more balanced.

4. Tap into Markets Early

The earlier you can respond to market movements, the more value you can find. Odds can change quickly, but if you’re aware of upcoming press conferences, major announcements, or potential scandals early, you can take advantage from a betting perspective.

It’s also worth watching when poll data will be released. Again, there will be early speculation about how the polls look, especially when it comes to exit polls, so the sooner you can act, the better.

Take the time to track previous polling data and determine which states (for US betting) are likely to swing one way or another. There’s a surprisingly low number of states that have marginal swings or gains, so concentrate your research on these. Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia are notorious for having exceptionally small margins, often less than 2%.

5. Find Value in Prop Bets

Prop bets can be a great way to find value from markets where the outright winner is all but wrapped up. They are speculative a lot of the time, which means the odds can be higher. While this increases risk, it also increases the bottom line when you win.

A good example would be using “and” bets, where you pick two outcomes for a single bet. One of the most common would be for a winner plus the margin of victory. Senate markets are great for this, where you can bet on the winning party and the over/under margin of victory line.

Adding the margin of victory can make the odds seem more attractive, especially for markets where the result is locked in for the winning party resulting in low outright odds.

6. Practice Bankroll Management

Regardless of what you’re betting on, you need a solid bankroll management process. The basics are that you should only bet what you can afford to lose, but you do this by managing a bankroll to lessen the blow when bets lose.

A solid strategy will vary depending on what you want to bet, the size of your bets, and how soon you can replenish your bankroll. We suggest that you never bet more than 5% of your bankroll at any one time, however, many professional bettors are more conservative than this even.

You can look to weight bets based on confidence and value levels. For example, you can work a points system where one point is worth one unit. If you ranked these from one through five based on confidence, with five being the most confidence, this will determine the bet sizing for each wager. The more confidence you have, the bigger the stake.

Put our politics betting tips and strategies into practice at our recommended operator, BetOnline:

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FAQs

How do political betting odds work?

What types of political bets are available?

Can you bet on politics legally in the United States?

How do you bet on specific political events like the Presidential Election?

What are political prop bets?

What should I look for in a political betting site?

Should you analyze political scandals for betting purposes?


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Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jonathan is a freelance writer working with Techopedia. He has been working within the gambling sector for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to work with brands that include Gambling.com, CheekyPunter.com, BasketballInsiders.com and Betfair. He specializes in US and UK-based sports and casino content for Techopedia.