Why Atlanta Is the Early Favorite to Land Amazon’s Second Headquarters

October 23, 2017, 2:24 PM UTC

More than 100 cities submitted bids to become Amazon’s second corporate home—a prize that could bring 50,000 new high-paying jobs and a big boost of civic prestige.

The bidding ended last week and, though Amazon is not expected to announce the winner until 2018, one city has emerged as the early favorite according to popular betting website Paddy Power.

As you can see from the screenshot below, Atlanta is the frontrunner at two-to-one odds with Austin and Boston as the initial runners-up.Also notable in the Paddy Power odds is that a Canadian city, Toronto, is currently number four to win the Amazon prize. (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently sent a “Dear Jeff” letter to Amazon’s CEO to woo the company).

While some may question the significance of a novelty wager on a betting site, many investors and economists today take such “prediction markets” seriously as a way to forecast the future. The idea is that “crowdsourcing” is an effective way to find accurate information, especially when (as here) people have skin in the game in the form of a bet.

In recent years, sites like Paddy Power have expanded their betting markets from sports wagers to everything from the outcome of political events like Brexit and elections to the birth of a Kardashian baby.

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In the case of predicting the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, the betting odds reflect the predictions of some recent analysts who named Atlanta, Boston, Washington, and Dallas as likely favorites. On the other hand, the absence of two other potential front-runners—Denver and Chicago—suggest the Paddy Power odds are offbase or premature.

For now, Atlanta’s status as a 2/1 favorite is not surprising as the city has a number of qualities, such as a large airport and a technical workforce, that the retail giant is seeking to complement its primary headquarters in Seattle.

Finally, for anyone hoping to boost their hometown with a bet in the poll, note that Paddy Power doesn’t accept wagers from North American residents.

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