Trump Impeached? You Can Bet On It
There’s already talk of impeachment, just three weeks into Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency. In fact, many are already betting on it.
Gambling houses all over the world are taking in action on whether Trump, inaugurated just last month, will resign or be impeached. And the odds aren’t as long as you might think.
Ladbrokes, the British oddsmaking giant, has Trump’s chances of leaving office via resignation or impeachment and removal at just 11-to-10, or just a little worse than even money. The odds of Trump being impeached this year in the House of Representatives are only 4-to-1, according to the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, despite GOP control of the chamber. You can win $180 on a $100 bet with Bovada, the online gaming site, that Trump won’t make it through a full term — though the bet is off if Trump passes away during the next four years.
All in all, Trump has meant big business for the international gambling industry. There’s always been betting on politics — mostly as a novelty around election season — but professional bookies say Trump’s unlikely victory and tumultuous transition mean that gamblers are jonesing to wager on his presidency.
“From a betting perspective, Donald Trump’s presidency has triggered a massive boom for these kinds of markets,” said Alex Donohue, the PR manager of Ladbrokes. “With Donald Trump, everything he does, it can be turned into speculation, and that can be turned into gambling.”
Given Republican control of Congress, impeachment seems, at best, a remote possibility in the next two years. Still, Trump’s continued ties to his businesses and his attacks on federal judges have fueled talk that Congress could seek to remove him. The Democratic automated-polling firm Public Policy Polling — in the latest in its series of “troll polls” designed, in part, to embarrass Republicans — found last week that 46 percent of registered voters would favor impeaching Trump.
Betting on Trump’s possible impeachment began shortly after his November election victory. But the scuttlebutt was underway well before Trump even officially became the GOP’s nominee. As far back as April 2016, constitutional scholars, pundits and even several members of Congress were speculating that his fiery rhetoric and unorthodox style might lead to impeachable offenses as president.
Any actual movement on impeachment wouldn’t come until Americans have turned on Trump en masse. And while Trump is the least-popular newly elected president in modern history, he retains a core of support that has yet to abandon him. Trump’s approval rating is 45 percent, according to the most recent HuffPost Pollster average — slightly lower than his 50 percent disapproval rating. At the same point in his own presidency, Barack Obama's approval rating was 63 percent, with 23 percent disapproving of his performance.
But that isn’t stopping bettors all over the world from wagering on the possibility. Ladbrokes says it has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bets on the future of Trump’s presidency — down from the “millions and millions” bet on the election, but far more than usual at the start of a new administration.
Lewis Davey, a spokesman at Paddy Power, called the early days of Trump’s presidency a “roller coaster” and noted the widespread public interest in betting on its future.
“With such little political experience and a rocky start in the White House, it’s understandable people have their doubts on Trump,” Davey said. “We’re currently offering 4-to-1 for Trump to be impeached in the first six months.”
Trump’s upset victory cost Paddy Power nearly $5 million after the betting house paid out bets on Democrat Hillary Clinton, thinking a string of negative news stories about Trump would end his chances of winning. Davey said that left Paddy Power “with some expensive egg on our faces” but vowed that it “won’t stop us from offering odds on U.S. politics.”
Impeachment and resignation aren’t the only wagers available on Trump at the moment, and bookmakers say the new president has greatly increased interest in all sorts of betting. Donohue, the Ladbrokes PR rep, says one of the most popular bets his firm is taking is whether Trump will visit the United Kingdom this year: 2-to-7 he will, 5-to-2 he won’t. (Trump, by comparison, is 5-to-4 to visit Russia before the end of the year.)
Bovada is taking bets on the next Supreme Court justice to leave the high court. The co-favorites? Eighty-year-old Anthony Kennedy and 84-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 3-to-2 odds. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts would pay 50-to-1 if any was the next to leave the court.
As for Trump’s pick of federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch, bettors at Bovada feel it’s less likely that the Senate will exercise the so-called “nuclear option” to overcome Democratic opposition to the Supreme Court nominee than that Senate Republicans will eliminate the filibuster for high court nominations. If the chamber does eliminate the filibuster, Bovada would pay $140 on a $100 bet, while bettors have to wager $180 to win $100 on a bet that Republicans won’t nix the filibuster.
Paddy Power offers some even more exotic options, pegged to recent White House stumbles. After Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway referenced the fictional “Bowling Green massacre,” there’s an active wager for the next Trump staffer “to quote a fake terror attack.” The favorite there is Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, at slightly worse than even money (5-to-6).
Spicer is also the favorite to be the first Trump staffer or appointee to leave his post. The odds of Spicer, the former Republican National Committee communications director, leaving by the end of March are 4-to-1, according to Bovada. Bettors can get 10-to-3 odds if Spicer leaves in the second quarter of this year, 9-to-1 in the third quarter, 12-to-1 in the fourth quarter and 4-to-7 odds of making it into 2018.
“Trump is the gift that keeps on giving,” Paddy Power’s Davey said. “We’ve got a bonanza of betting specials on The Donald. When Trump took to Twitter [last week] to defend [daughter] Ivanka after Nordstrom dropped her clothing line, we were out with a [betting] market on next retailer to drop the Ivanka brand next.” (The current favorites are TJ Maxx at 4-to-1, Walmart at 5-to-1 and Amazon at 6-to-1.)
Perhaps the most unusual — and certainly most lurid — wager is the 4-to-1 odds offered by Paddy Power that the alleged Russian video of Trump outlined in the dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent will appear on a pornographic website.
“Trump's character has captured the imagination of the public” overseas said Davey, who compared following his presidency to “watching your favorite soap [opera].”
Ladbroke’s Donohue agreed.
“It’s a great thing for betting markets that Donald Trump is president,” he said.