Online gambling might only be quasi-legal in the U.S., but that's not stopping offshore sites from letting people place their bets on who will be fighting for the Oval Office in November. And oddsmakers are pretty convinced at this point that it's going to come down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Trump is given a 71% chance of winning the Republican nomination, says the Election Betting Odds website. (Using data from online casino betfair.com, the site averages the current "bid" and "ask" prices to come up with the implied odds.)
Clinton is given an 87% chance of sealing the Democratic nomination by the site.
She also is favored to win the general election by 55%.
But what about the polls?
That's certainly better odds than either candidate is seeing in national political polls. An average of six polls from news organizations on Real Clear Politics shows Trump leading the Republican field with 33.2%. And among Democrats, Clinton, with 47.2% is just five points ahead of Bernie Sanders.
There is, of course, a difference between polls and casino odds. One actively and methodically solicits the opinions of registered voters. The other is determined purely by gambler gut instinct.
So, while you may want to take the casino odds with a grain of salt, it's worth noting that betfair isn't the only online gambling site that's predicting a strong Trump showing in the primary -- with Clinton winning a narrow victory.
PaddyPower.com currently gives Trump 5/2 odds for winning the presidency. Clinton is still the frontrunner, with 8/11 odds. (Marco Rubio has 6/1 odds on that site, while Sanders is far back at 12/1.)
Put in real world dollars, that means if you were to bet $100 on Clinton and she won, you'd see returns of $172.73. Take the odds for Trump and that $100 would become $350.
Big bets on Clinton
OddsShark, meanwhile, says data from Bovada indicates you might be better served to just hold onto your money if you're considering getting some skin in the political game. The odds for Clinton winning the Democratic nomination are so overwhelming that a $100 bet would just earn you an extra $10 and that same bet on Trump to take the Republican nomination would pocket you just $25 more.
Should those two face off in November? A $100 bet for Clinton today would be worth $171.43, while a Trump victory would turn $100 into $260.
Scientific? Not even remotely close. But it does show what many people perceive will be the final ballot. And perception, especially in public forums, sometimes has a sneaky way of becoming reality.