A $100 wager on a Trump win today could bring the punter a return of $190 if he notches the victory
For the time being, all the polls seem to be going Joe Biden's way ahead of the November 3 presidential election. But gamblers see a different reality and are putting their money on Donald Trump.
The Republican incumbent, who is seeking a second term, has slowly climbed back since late July to nearly even with the Democratic former vice president.
For some Australian and British bookmakers, Trump is the odds-on favourite.
Betting on national or local elections is illegal in the United States. All the action is happening on foreign gambling sites -- which Americans can sometimes access.
A $100 wager on a Trump win today could bring the punter a return of $190 if he notches the victory.
"There is no doubt that the momentum appears to have swung back into President Trump's favour," said Rupert Adams, a spokesman for British bookmaker William Hill, which has already accepted more than $1.3 million in election bets.
Lee Price, a spokesman for Irish gambling brand Paddy Power, explains that after a slowdown in betting activity due to the coronavirus crisis, interest has "started to pick up again in recent weeks."
"We think the Trump factor is sure to keep punters interested," Price told AFP.
Many who have placed their bets on Trump now are hoping for a repeat of 2016, when the Manhattan real estate mogul staged a stunning comeback against Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton to win the White House.
'Just plain scary'
British bookmaker Betfair has taken in $13.3 million in bets on the White House race since August 23, on the eve of the Republican nominating convention.
That brings their total so far to $95.7 million, as compared with $43.8 million at the same point in the campaign in 2016.
Betfair is hoping to top the record of $264.5 million wagered in 2016, half of which came after polling stations closed, explained spokesman Darren Hughes.
Beyond the main event, Paddy Power is taking bets on some quirky issues: will Trump paint the White House gold (500-1)? Will he have an airport in Mexico named after him (66-1)?
But Price says the interest in those types of bets has waned a bit.
"Trump is less wacky, quirky, and funny," Price says, calling the president's current behavior "just plain scary."
Matthew Collins, a 29-year-old Australian sales consultant, placed 21 separate bets before the Republican convention -- nearly all of them on Trump.
He picked the president to win again in November, but also as the winner of several specific states. In all, he put down about $14,570 -- a sum he won on a bet that Biden would choose Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Collins, who describes himself as politically left-leaning, says he thinks Trump has gained momentum since his party's convention in late August, which came on the heels of the Democrats' event.