Returns for the bet are getting smaller as more people think it's likely.
As news of tumult in the White House continues to shock the world, users on betting sites are growing near certain that President Donald Trump is headed back to his tower of glass and gold.
Based on the most recent influx of bets placed on U.K.-based Ladbrokes, users seem to see a 60% chance that Trump will not last his first term in office, according to Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes. That’s up from 25% immediately following the November elections.
“There’s virtually no one betting on him to not be impeached—in total, literally a single figure amount,” wrote Lee Price, a representative for Betfair.
That finding may come as a surprise to critics of Trump, many of whom have speculated about the possibility for his impeachment in the wake of Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey.
But getting in on the bets now might not be worth it—regardless if the President is impeached.
Say that immediately after the November elections a bettor decided to bet on Trump’s impeachment within his first term. And say the bettor was also a fan of Tesla Motors and had been saving up for the automaker’s highly anticipated Model 3 vehicle, which carries a $35,000 price tag. If Trump were indeed impeached within his first term, the bettor would have had to put in just $2,200 to walk away with enough value to buy a Model 3—a take of about $16 for every $1 bet.
But that was then, and this is now. If a bettor decided to stake his or her funds on Trump’s impeachment today, the bettor would need to put in $35,000 on Betfair to earn back the Model 3’s payment in full. In short, $1 for $1.
The betting markets don’t have a great track record with impeachments. (Though there isn’t much data to work with: only two U.S. Presidents have been impeached—Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998—and both were later acquitted.) At the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, bettors didn’t think President Clinton was likely to be impeached. (At the time, a $1 bet would reap $6 in return.)
And then there’s the matter of familiarity. Most bettors at Ladbrokes are not from the U.S. and most are amateur hobbyists, Shaddick said.
“There’s been a lot of talk of removing the sitting president,” Shaddick said. “[Bettors] are likely overreacting to the latest piece of news. ”
Indeed, the odds vary from betting site to betting site. Bettors on Predict-It see only a 30% chance of Trump’s impeachment.