Bookmakers will usually offer odds on just about anything, but one of the key novelty areas of betting that arises fairly regularly is politics.
For UK punters this is usually focussed heavily around general elections, but other key international elections play a part too such as US Presidential Elections, and major European countries such as France or Germany.
It could be argued that bookmakers use politics markets just to get mentioned in newspapers and the media around the time of key political activity, but there are always plenty of markets available with real depth to the prices, so although it is likely that they benefit from the press mentions it is also an important enough market for them to run it professionally and consistently.
US Presidential Elections Betting
An awful lot of money gets staked around the results of big events such as the election of the next US President, and at the time of writing (2013) the next election is still 3 years away (2016) and already you can back Hilary Clinton at 3/1 right the way down to Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin (!!) at 400/1.
Bets are also available already on the Winning Party, and which candidates will get the official nomination to run for president from their respective parties.
As the campaign kicks off properly and develops in the latter stages of the election then markets will come available for results in individual states, for example.
‘Novelty’ bets are also available in areas related to US Politics but not necessarily to do with the election. For example, Paddy Power are currently offering odds on whether or not President Obama will close Guantanemo Bay, and whether Chelsea Clinton will run for elected office or not.
UK General Election & Politics Betting
There is always something available to bet on for UK punters regarding UK politics, whether we are anywhere near to a general election or not.
The following screen shot from Paddy Power gives you some idea of what is available at the time of writing…
During a General Election build up, markets will be created for betting on the results at individual constituencies both on the individual party that will win there and also on the size of the majority.
An important point to consider with such political betting is that it is nearly always the case that political bets can only be placed as single bets. That means you cannot bundle them together into trebles or large accumulators.
The market for betting on the next Mayor of London can often be entertaining. With regards to the 2016 election, odds for Zac Goldsmith, the favourite, are at 13/8, chased by Tessa Jowell at 9/4 and Sadiq Khan (5/2). You can get Boris Johnson at 66/1, Eddie Izard at 50/1, David Beckham at 125/1 and many, many more in between and after.
The starting point for most political betting is online as all the odds you need will be listed there. This is preferable to going into a betting shop and keeping one of the counter staff tied up for minutes while you ask for odds and they have to look them up. By looking at all the odds online you might also find a market that you didn’t know existed, and so would not be able to get odds for in shop as you wouldn’t know enough to ask about it. Any odds listed online for any market will be supported in a bookmaker shop, so you can research your bet online and then place it in a shop if you prefer to place bets with real cash.