US Election Bets On Hold After President Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19

  • Donald Trump announced his and the First Lady's positive tests in an early Friday tweet
  • Betting companies have temporarily withdrawn US Election markets as they await further updates
  • Before the current suspension, Mike Pence's odds of being next president shortened significantly
  • Joe Biden has been the favorite to win the November 3 election lately
Trump and Biden badges as part of 2020 US presidential election
With US President Donald Trump testing positive for COVID-19, several betting companies have suspended markets for the upcoming 2020 presidential election. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Major news halts betting markets

With US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania announcing they have both tested positive for COVID-19, many betting operators across the world are suspending their betting markets for the upcoming US presidential election. 

The news about the positive test results broke early Friday in a tweet by the US President:

Experts are now trying to figure out what knock-on effect the issue may have on the November 3 election. Most betting companies have temporarily withdrawn their bet markets for the election battle between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

U.S. election markets down as we await further updates”

A Ladbrokes spokesperson commented on the suspension of the election markets, saying: “We have temporarily taken the U.S. election markets down as we await further updates – this is standard procedure and we wish Donald and Melania Trump well.”

Other notable betting brands that are reportedly implementing market suspensions include Paddy Power, Bodog, and Betfair.

What happens next?

It is unclear how badly COVID-19 will affect the 74-year-old president. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted the virus in March and was subsequently put on a ventilator in intensive care for some time. It took him a number of weeks in recovery before he was able to return to Downing Street and fully resume his political duties. 

There is so much uncertainty.”

A spokesperson for Australian betting operator TAB, Shaun Anderson, spoke to Yahoo News Australia about the election market suspension. He said: “There’s just so many variables, that’s the reason why the market is closed. There is so much uncertainty.”

Before the suspension of the election betting markets at TAB, the odds of current Vice President Mike Pence becoming the next president fell from 300/1 down to 26/1.

Politics betting to date

Betting on politics has become more popular in recent years around the world, with these markets being available at most major betting sites.

Biden has been the favorite in the 2020 election race for some time, with his odds shortening following the first presidential debate on September 30. Biden’s probability of winning the election, according to Betfair, rose to 60% following the debate, up from 56% previously.

Trump was also the underdog in the 2016 presidential race, with rival Hillary Clinton being the strong favorite. Clinton ultimately lost out to Trump in the November 2016 election.

No betting on politics is allowed in the US, including in states where sports betting is legal. The West Virginia Lottery did temporarily give sportsbooks the green light to offer political betting markets in April 2020, but the decision was followed by a quick u-turn. Officials in the state have said they want to conduct further research and gauge the potential implications of allowing such betting markets.