Would you like to place a bet that Republican property mogul Donald Trump will (or will not) be the next U.S. President? Sorry, you cannot do it in Las Vegas — Sin City is not allowed to take bets on Presidential elections. In fact, it is not legal for Americans to bet on elections at all. State and federal laws prohibit the practice.
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There are ways that Americans can place bets using overseas gambling sites under certain conditions, but we do not condone illegal activity. If you want to do so, you can certainly find out how through Internet resources. Perhaps the NSA does not care what you do in your spare time.
However, it is perfectly legal to look up the odds and have a good chuckle at them, or observe them as they change. Bovada, based in Canada, and Ladbrokes, based in the UK, are two of the most well-known oddsmakers, although there are a host of others. We will start by looking at Bovada and follow up with British bookmakers. These figures were accurate at the time of writing.
Republicans – It is no surprise that Donald Trump has shown the greatest increase in the odds of becoming President, moving from 25:1 on August 5th to 7:1 on August 25th(the most recent issue as of this writing). However, the favorite to prevail is still the former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, at 3.75:1, a drop from his previous 3.5:1 odds. Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker and Senator Marco Rubio have both sunk to 14:1 odds from their previous 10:1 and 12:1 respectively.
Governor of Ohio John Kasich is doing unusually well at Bovada, vaulting from 40:1 to 25:1. Texan Senator Ted Cruz and Detroit neurosurgeon Ben Carson are on the upswing, currently tied at 33:1 after rising from 40:1 and 45:1 respectively. Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina are tied at 50:1, although that is a rise for Fiorina and a drop for the controversial Christie, who recently suggested tracking immigrants the way FedEx tracks packages.1:1.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has plummeted from 25:1 to 100:1. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Senator Rick Santorum are at 150:1, and Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas, has sunk beyond that mark, as have the other contenders.
The British bookmakers show similarities at the top. The first discrepancy is Walker's lower odds at around 16:1 on average. UK books show a far greater preference for Rand Paul at around 40:1 to 50:1, and the pack of Huckabee, Cruz, Fiorina, Carson, and Christie are in the 50:1-70:1 range. The rest are near 100:1 odds or below.
Democrats – So far, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is the winner. She is basically even money on all books. Bovada has her slipping slightly from 11/10 to 10/11. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has dropped a bit from 12:1 to 14:1. Vice President Joe Biden, who is contemplating a run as of this writing, improved from 20:1 to 18:1.
Everybody else is far in the distance. The next highest odds are for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has repeatedly said she is not running in 2016, at 66:1. Ex-Virginia Senator and former Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb along with Former Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley are the next in line at 100:1 odds.
British oddsmakers effectively agree, even throwing in Secretary of State John Kerry as a 100:1 candidate. Apparently all it takes is one nuclear deal with Iran to get you nominated.
You can amuse yourself with a summary of British odds on the U.S. presidency, from the serious to the silly, at Oddschecker.com. Odds are available for many people who are not running and/or are totally unqualified, as well as people you have probably never heard of.
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What about climate change campaigner Al Gore? Anywhere from 80:1 to 250:1. And former member of The House of Representatives Michele Bachmann? Anywhere from 125:1 to 250:1. How about a third Obama term via electing the First Lady Michelle Obama? That is available from 150:1 to 500:1. Prefer Chelsea Clinton to Hillary? That is a 300:1 bet. George Clooney leads the acting contingent at 250:1, if you do not count Arnold Schwarzenegger at 150:1.
For those of you who truly have money to waste, you can get 500:1 odds on Charlie Sheen to be the next U.S. President (Winning!), 750:1 odds on Alec Baldwin or Eva Longoria, and as the topper, 1000:1 odds on Kim Kardashian.
No odds yet on rapper (and Kim’s husband) Kanye West, who announced at MTV Video Music Awards 2015 that he will be running for president in 2020.