How to Bet on the Presidential Election – Presidential Election Betting Guide & Tips

Betting on the presidential election is one of the simplest markets to get to grips with. We explain the different types of bets you can make, as well as how to choose and sign up to a politics betting site. We also share our top tips and strategies to help you feel confident making informed wagers on the upcoming presidential election.

How Presidential Election Betting Works

When you bet on the US presidential election, you’re betting on the outcome of the votes cast across the United States. It’s a very simple market to work with, and the person elected as president once the votes have been counted is the market winner.

Political betting doesn’t just start and end with betting on the next president. There are dozens of markets to choose from that run throughout the year. Everything from state to Senate up to federal votes takes place all the time and keeps political betting running outside of presidential elections. You’ll also find a ton of exciting prop bets, covering everything from social media to the weather.

the white house
Image: Stefan Fussan/Wikipedia

Is it Legal to Bet on a Presidential Election in the United States?

Politics betting is prohibited at operators who are based and regulated within the US. However, it is possible to bet on politics at licensed offshore sportsbooks like the ones we recommend here at Techopedia. As these sites are based outside of the US, they do not need to adhere to federal or state laws, so you can place bets on the presidential election and other political events without breaking any laws.

Types of Presidential Election Bets

The types of betting markets vary based on the popularity of the race. US sportsbooks get the most traction with US elections and the markets that we’ve listed below give a good overview of what you can expect in terms of largest coverage, but note that not all these are accessible for elections around the world.

Outright winnerElectoral College outcomeState-by-state bettingParty-specific betsVice President selectionDebate performancesTurnout and voter demographicsPrimary ElectionsElection day specials

Outright winner

A strange name to be associated with presidential election betting, but the market is technically called the outright winner, so that applies here.

Electoral College outcome

This is where you can bet on the outcome of votes from the Electoral College. Some sites offer this as an over/under bet or bracket based on the number of votes.

State-by-state betting

Votes take place across the US, so it’s possible to bet on the winning candidate on a state-by-state basis. Those that are set to be close can offer value.

Party-specific bets

You can bet on democratic or republican markets, where instead of betting on the individual, you bet on the party. These can be linked to winning margins in legislative sectors, such as Congress.

Vice President selection

Before the president is elected, you can bet on who will be their Vice President.

Debate performances

Debates will take place throughout the lead-up to voting for the presidential election, and you can bet on who will be the biggest winner from each debate. The best gambling sites will use external platforms to gauge the public’s reaction and then pay out accordingly based on these results.

Turnout and voter demographics

This is based on the number of voters within a specific demographic. The most common is age but can include special interest groups. One of the most common markets is betting on which age group will have the largest turnout of voters.

Primary Elections

In the lead-up to the presidential election, there will be a series of primaries where you can bet on the winner of each.

Election day specials

When the time comes to vote, there are various betting specials, such as the color of the tie the newly elected president will be wearing or what time the result is confirmed.

Presidential Election Prop Bets

As the election draws nearer, the prop bets market starts to take off. This covers “everything else” and is one of the most popular parts of election betting, with online sportsbooks offering all sorts of interesting markets. Below, we’ve outlined what you can expect to find and how they work.

First state to report resultsLength of winning candidate victory speechTie colorSocial media mentionsNumber of states wonSwing state outcomes

First state to report results

There’s always a race for the state that reports the first set of results on election night. Some are more obvious than others, so research which states have historically been one of the first and go with that.

Length of winning candidate victory speech

When a candidate wins they always make a speech and you can bet on the over/under for the length. Some betting sites will also include the length of the losing candidate’s speech, although this is much rarer.

Tie color

For male candidates, you can bet on the color of the tie they will wear during their victory speech. This is usually linked to the colors of the party they represent, but not always.

Social media mentions

This is the total number of mentions a candidate receives on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook. You can track this within the “Trending” section for both sites.

Number of states won

For this market, you must pick the number of states won by the recently elected president. It’s worth noting that the winning candidate doesn’t always win the highest number of states, as some states carry more seats than others.

Swing state outcomes

When states are swung, they move from one party to another. You can bet on which states, if any, will change allegiance based on the previous election results.

Examples of a Presidential Election Bet

When the US presidential election approaches, the politics betting markets take on a whole new level. As mentioned, there are dozens to choose from, including some of the most random prop bets such as the weather on the day of voting.

To keep things simple for our presidential election betting example, we will use the market to win the election outright. It’s the easiest one to work with for now and the one that most of you will likely bet on.

how to bet on presidential election

As you can see from the image above, it includes a list of all the candidates running the race for the year. There are 32 in this list (you can only see a handful here), and some sportsbooks will even expand on this number.

The market works just as if you were placing a bet on your favorite NFL team to win the Super Bowl. Each candidate comes with odds, and this signifies the returns if you win.

To explain how betting odds work, note that you have a positive and negative number. The positive is the money you profit from a $100 bet, and the negative is the amount you need to stake to make a $100 profit.

In this example, there are no negative numbers, but Donald Trump is priced at +100, which is even money. This technically could be displayed as -100, which means the same thing.

Let’s assume that we will place a bet on Joe Biden to win at odds of +175. These odds state that for every $100 we bet we make a profit of $175. Of course, you don’t have to bet $100 flat, you can bet less if you want, but this is an easy way to work out returns.

Not all bets linked to the election are classed as outright bets, and some will have yes/no markets or even over/under markets.

presidential election betting

The image above shows the betting for Mike Johnson to be the speaker at the next election. The market is a simple yes or no answer.

This market gives us a good opportunity to include an example of negative odds, where betting on “Yes” at -450 shows that, for every $450 wagered, we make $100 profit.

How to Choose a Presidential Election Betting Site

More betting sites than ever offer markets for presidential election betting, so choosing one can feel overwhelming. Below we’ve added areas to consider before picking a politics betting site to help you narrow down the most suitable options.

  1. Political betting markets: The sportsbook needs a strong range of markets. All sites will offer the winner of the election, especially in the US, but the best go above and beyond that, with electoral college outcomes, state-by-state betting, and Senate betting options being strong additions.
  2. Elections insights and analysis: Find sites with betting blogs that cover the run-up to the elections. There tends to be less political bias and a huge emphasis on betting as these sites don’t need to sway voters, they just want people to bet. This means you’ll find plenty of tips and helpful information to inform your betting.
  3. Competitive betting lines: This is one of the most standard features to look for, but you must find sites that offer great betting odds as this provides bigger returns. The best way to do this is to use multiple sportsbooks so you can move about to get the best price possible.
  4. Bonuses and promotions: The vast range of sportsbook bonuses will allow you to use them with political betting markets. There won’t be many promotions linked specifically to betting on the presidential election, but some sites will have short-term offers, such as boosted odds, which can create a lot of value.
  5. Mobile access: Mobile access is important because politics can change very quickly and you must be able to react, which may mean on the go. These days everything is filmed or recorded, and the wrong post on X (formerly Twitter) and the whole market can shift in an instant.

How to Bet on the Presidential Election – Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Open an account

    Click on the “Join” button at the top of the page to get started. This will open a pop-up for you to create a new account.
    Open an account
  2. Enter account details

    Use the forms to enter your account information. You will need to verify your new account before you can make a deposit. Take the time to ensure that your details are correct, especially the email address where you will be sent a verification link to complete the registration process.
    Enter account details
  3. Make a deposit and claim the welcome bonus

    Head to the cashier at the top of the page to make your first deposit. You can choose from any payment options on the screen and enter the promo code for the bonus you wish to claim.
    Make a deposit and claim the welcome bonus
  4. Head to the sportsbook

    Now that your account has been created return to the sportsbook and use the menu to find “Politics”. Here, you will see a section on the “US Election” and a series of bets to choose from. The “President” market is the main betting option.
    Head to the sportsbook
  5. Place your bet

    To place a bet, click the odds to add to your bet slip. Once the bet is loaded, enter your stake and take a second to ensure the selection is correct. When you’re happy, click the “Place Bet” button at the bottom. You can check on live or settled bets from the menu within the bet slip.
    Place your bet

If you are ready to sign up and start betting on the upcoming US presidential election, head over to our recommended sportsbook BetOnline.

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Presidential Elections to Bet On

Political betting extends much further than just the United States. In this section, we’ve included a series of presidential elections you can bet on from around the world, accessible on most online betting sites.

2024 US Presidential Election Betting Odds

The US presidential election is the most popular, especially in the United States. To give you an idea of the scale, over $300 million was wagered on the 2020 election between Trump and Biden, which is double what Nevada took across all Super Bowl markets for the same year.

In 2024, there is an upcoming election, with Donald Trump and Joe Biden as the favorites. The table outlines the current betting odds for the favorites to win the race.

Candidate Odds Sportsbook
Donald Trump Sr. +100 BetOnline
Joe Biden +185 BetOnline
Michelle Obama +900 Bovada
Nikki Haley +1600 TG.Casino
Gavin Newsom +2000 BetWhale
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. +2200 BetOnline
Kamala Harris +4000 Bovada

French Presidential Election

The French presidential election takes place every five years and includes two rounds of voting. If there is no majority winner in the first round, then a runoff is held between the two leading candidates.

With France being the second largest economy in the European Union, it’s one of the most important elections outside of the US. The result can have huge implications for EU policies, which filter through to other EU countries.

Brazilian Presidential Election

The Brazilian presidential election runs every four years unless it gets called before this. Like France, there is a possibility of two rounds of voting, with the second being used if there is no majority of 50% or more from the first, with a runoff for the second round of voting if needed.

As one of the largest countries in South America, it has huge implications for things like exports and the Amazon rainforest. Most leaders use or include at least one of these in their mandates in an attempt to improve the infrastructure within the country.

Russian Presidential Election

Russia has one of the most controversial presidential election systems, which runs every six years. The vote is a straight race to earn more than 50% to avoid a runoff.

However, the fairness and transparency of voting within the country have often been scrutinized. Vladimir Putin was voted back into office in 2020 with a staggering 78% of the votes, even though most residents dislike the controversial leader.

India General Election

India is the world’s largest democracy, meaning that the election is massive in scale compared to most. They run every five years, although they can be called sooner if the party in power is struggling with voter confidence.

UK General Election

The UK’s general election runs at least every five years, although, like India, this can be called sooner. It’s a parliamentary system where each party has a leader who is their representative, and this leader then goes on to be the Prime Minister and earns a seat in the House of Commons.

If you’d like to know more about other available political betting events, read our guide to politics betting to discover what else you can bet on besides the presidential election.

Presidential Election Betting Strategy and Tips

The final part of learning how to bet on the presidential election is implementing proper betting strategies. Our tips will help you to maximize profits and avoid common pitfalls we often see people make.

1. Focus on swing states

A swing state is a US state where the levels of support for two political parties are very close. Winning these states is crucial and often decides who will become president.

In the 2016 US election, key swing stats included Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. All three swung to favor Trump, which ultimately got him over the line to serve his first and only term.

From a betting perspective, you must understand how these swing states will vote as early as possible. Use as much data and analytics as possible and tap into publications covering exit polls as the voting is taking place. If you can determine how swing stats are going to sway, you’ll have a great chance of knowing which party to bet on.

2. Create an incumbent performance analysis

Creating a performance analysis of those in office is a great way to spot voting trends. Approval ratings are the best place to start and are readily available online. You can break it down for each state, giving you a good idea of re-election chances.

In terms of numbers, anything over 50% is deemed to have a good chance of re-election. Obama in 2012 was a good example of this, and he duly got re-elected on the back of this.

Even though approval ratings are not the be-all and end-all for political betting, it’s a good place to start.

3. Consider economic indicators

Economic indicators can be used to gauge the incumbent party’s likelihood of re-election. Factors such as GDP growth, unemployment rates, and stock market performance can be used as predictors.

If the economy is strong or has increased over the term, the majority of the population will be keen to re-elect. A good example of this was the high unemployment rate 2020 of 8.05%, which had risen from 3.67% just 12 months prior. This and other mitigating factors led to Trump losing the election to Biden the same year.

4. Assess primary performance and momentum

Primaries are used to vote for candidates and leaders to represent the party in an upcoming election. They can be taken from both the Republicans and Democrats, and this gives a good indicator as to how that state might vote for the main election.

Momentum plays a huge role in this, and one of the points you must check is the percentage of votes for each. Barack Obama is a great example of this. He quickly gained momentum throughout the primaries to win the 2008 presidential election from the one-time odds on favorite, John McCain.

From a betting perspective, it’s always good to see how the percentage of votes changes from each primary. Try to find candidates starting to emerge as front runners and ride their coattails.

5. Analyze social media growth

Social media plays a huge role in presidential elections, given that it’s now the most consumed news source for the majority of Americans. Trump famously went all out on social media, and since 2016, it’s now a key tool in the success of any upcoming president.

We can use social trends and analysis to our benefit in several ways. The first is to see who is interacting and gaining a following. Younger voters tend to be based on social channels, increasing their influence.

You can start by checking followers of subscriber growth and then see how engaging they are in terms of followers. When accounts are growing, it could also be a sign that they will gain traction from a voting perspective.

Next, we can use news outlets solely based on social media for non-biased views and trends. In 2012, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight accurately predicted 49 of 50 states, and they have since moved into the social media world, offering free voting insights for upcoming elections.

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FAQs

What is presidential election betting?

Is betting on presidential elections legal?

Where can I bet on presidential elections?

What types of bets can be made on presidential elections?

How do I research and evaluate candidates for betting?

Can I bet on elections in countries other than my own?

What are the risks associated with betting on presidential elections?

How do historical trends and data influence election betting?

What strategies can be employed for successful election betting?

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References

  1. https://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/ (Gamblers Anonymous)
  2. https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/ (National Council on Problem Gambling)
  3. https://www.begambleaware.org/ (Gamble Aware)
  4. https://www.gamcare.org.uk/ (Gam Care)
  5. https://www.usa.gov/ (US Government)
  6. https://gop.com/ (Republican National Committee)
  7. https://democrats.org/ (Democrat Party)
  8. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/ (FiveThirtyEight)
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.