91 per cent of last-minute bets for Donald Trump, bookmaker says

By Isobel Finkel

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Miami. Photo / AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Miami. Photo / AP

In the betting markets at least, Donald Trump is crushing Hillary Clinton.

On Tuesday and yesterday, the Republican candidate outshone his rival in terms of both the number and the volume of wagers, according to figures from Ireland's largest bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair. Just shy of €100,000 in bets came in, with 91 per cent of that for Trump.

"This election's been a serious betting anomaly," said Féilim Mac An Iomaire, a spokesman for the company, confirming that data.

Even before FBI Director Jack Comey announced the discovery of new emails potentially related to a probe that has troubled the Clinton campaign, money placed on a Trump victory amounted to almost the same as that bet on his rival, despite her lead in opinion polls.

"You don't normally see so much placed on the outside candidate but I think the shock of Brexit is fresh in people's minds," Mac An Iomaire said.

The UK's June referendum bruised professional pollsters by dealing an unexpected blow to the status quo. Yet another lesson of that vote is that betting flows are not a foolproof indicator, with bookies reporting a surge in bets that the UK electorate would choose to remain in the European Union on the morning of the vote. The next day, the "Leave" camp emerged triumphant.

Still, bookmakers' data appear to be echoing moves in financial markets, with the Mexican peso, Credit Suisse AG's "ultimate market indicator," weakening more than 3 per cent since Comey's letter, as Trump's improving prospects jolt the currency.

The probability of a Trump victory implied by offshore bookmakers' odds are now at 28.5 per cent, according to Convergex market strategist Nicholas Colas. That's roughly the same as flipping a coin and getting heads twice in a row, and matches estimates by professional polling analysts.

For Paddy Power the stakes are higher than most. The company announced it would start paying out on a Clinton victory in mid October, having initially offered a Donald Trump presidency at 100/1.

- Bloomberg

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