President Trump famously dismisses anyone who criticizes him. Democrats, the legitimate news media, actresses – even war heroes and conservatives inside his own Republican party haven’t escaped his scapegoating and ridicule.
If there’s anyone the former casino owner might respect, however, it’s bookmakers and the odds they calculate. Unfortunately for the President, the smart money is now predicting his early exit.
According to the UK betting house Ladbrokes, “As of the morning of March 31, Trump’s odds of leaving office before his first term increased to 4/5.”
In non-gambling jargon, that means the betting public believes there’s now a 56% chance he’ll be impeached or is otherwise forced to resign before his term ends in 2020.
Non-sports gambling doesn’t exist in the United States, but in the UK it’s big business – and widely followed as one of many indicators in politics.
Gambling odds – in sports and politics alike – are moving targets. Odds makers first assess which side of a bet they believe will ultimately play out. They then set the odds at a point where they think near-equal numbers of gamblers will be enticed to bet both for and against.
So, while the oddsmakers may have a particular outcome in mind, the odds themselves are set and then adjusted based on where the money goes.
If the odds are too high, they may fail to attract bettors who think he’ll survive his first term, and over-attract those who don’t. In that case, they’ll lower the odds.
On the other hand, if the odds are too low, not enough gamblers will take a risk on his early eviction from the White House, and too much money will come in expecting him to endure. The odds would then be adjusted up accordingly.
In other words, gambling houses don’t adjust odds based on their own biases or analyses. They adjust them based on the biases and analyses of people who actually follow politics. They don’t have their own agenda.
In the case of Ladbroke’s Trump bet, the money has been coming in overwhelmingly for those who think Trump will be gone before he gets a shot at reelection.
According to Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes:
“We’ve taken five times the amount of bets on him failing to see out his full term than on him doing so. For the market to say there’s close to a fifty percent chance of that happening is incredible.”
The President may respect you or me, but he respects money, and the money is telling a story he can’t ignore.