Election Betting Doubled In 2008

It’s been a rough year for the gambling industry, even the European online betting houses, but the US election is helping things out. Laadbrokes says there’s been $8 million wagered this year on the election, more than double the amount taken in in 2004. No doubt, this election has garnered unprecedented global interest and Ladbrokes says wagers have been placed from 120 different countries. What’s remarkable is that the increase comes amid a crackdown in the US and Canada on offshore betting, making it difficult to transfer money into one of these sites (we know, because we may or may not have tried in vane to deposit cash in a site just this weekend).

Also, it doesn’t sound as though this tally includes the measure we’ve consistently been tracking, Intrade, which has taken at least $2.5 million on Obama and McCain contracts alone.

And now a plea to the next President, regardless of who it is, to loosen up restrictions before 2012. Betting on the Presidency is almost as historical as Democracy itself. From the above MarketWatch article:

More than 110 years ago, a London correspondent for the New York Times reported intense interest in the contest between Democrat William Jennings Bryan and Republican William McKinley.

“The Stock Exchange was the scene of unusual excitement today, more time being devoted to betting on the result of the presidential election in the United States than in the conduct of legitimate business,” the Times reported.

London odds makers proved reliable, with McKinley, the victor in the 1896 election, favoured 4-to-1 over Bryan.

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