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Biden expands lead vs. Trump in 2020 election: Betting giant

Sarbjit Bakhshi Smarkets Head of Political Markets joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to break down the latest overseas betting odds in the 2020 race to the White House.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: But let's talk now about odds. To the White House with a friend of the show, Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets head of political markets. Thanks so much for joining us, Sarbjit. Always love chatting with you.

So tell us-- last time we talked to you was right after the presidential debate, which I think it was a week ago now. I almost can't keep track anymore.

But it was about a week ago. And we did see Biden have a bit of a lead over the president after that debate. I'm wondering now, a week later, how Joe Biden is faring against President Donald Trump, especially since the president has revealed that he's positive with coronavirus.

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: So last week, when we spoke, we were talking about our $5.5 million next president market. And that's risen to $9.5 million, almost $10 million now traded on our market to be the next president.

And what we've seen is Biden go up to 67% to become the next president. Trump's chances of staying president have dropped down to 33%, which is a widening gap. It's 2/3 now in Biden's favor to make that part of the White House in November.

KRISTIN MYERS: So just for context-- I actually don't know myself-- how long has Smarkets been doing this political betting, at least in the United States? I'm wondering if you've seen similar gaps between other politicians or if this really wide lead is something quite remarkable.

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: Well, so Smarkets operates in the United Kingdom. So it's people based in the UK who can bet, not people based in America. But obviously, American citizens who are in the UK can use our markets.

We were trading from around 2010, really 2012. So we've looked at the other debates, but politics has never been so big as it is now. In terms of this gap and this divergence of opinion, well, there was something similar around 2016, but it was the other way around.

But it seems to be more-- there's more money on our exchange than ever before. There's more money traded, more participants in this market. So this is kind of exceptional and kind of unique, I think.

Trump has a lot of followers and has had a lot of support on our markets with people heavily supporting the incumbent president to win again. But still, his price is not quite moving in the right direction and is slowly ebbing away to Joe Biden's growth in this market.

He's at 67% now. It's not the highest he's ever been. He's been around 70% before in our market. But the trends are good for Joe Biden. And he is increasing his lead.

Looking-- sorry. Looking across at the electoral college markets, Biden is now at 323 electoral college votes to Trump's 215. So the gap there is widening, too.

KRISTIN MYERS: Well, that also would indicate that at least, if your betters were actually all American voters, at least the baseline of a contested election seems to be fading with every passing week. OK, so we have a vice presidential debate tonight. I'm wondering what the odds are there.

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: So we created this market today. We've had a good amount of money traded on it. And the clear-- the market that is around who will be victorious in this VP debate, going to our snap poll, is 88% for Kamala Harris, 88% to Joe Biden's-- no, to Mike Pence's 14%.

This is clearly a contest that will suit Kamala Harris. She's youthful. She's sharp. She's energetic. She's intelligent. She speaks very well. Mike Pence also speaks very well, but doesn't have that kind of verve, I think, that our traders are trading on. Everyone's expecting her to walk this debate, to become the clear victor in the debate. And our market is certainly reflecting that, 88% in favor of her winning.

KRISTIN MYERS: And with the 10 million-- is that in pounds, or is that US dollars, by the way, Sarbjit?

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: Next president market is 10-- almost $10 million.

KRISTIN MYERS: Dollars. OK, well, with $10 million, that is a lot of eyeballs that will be on this debate tonight. I'm sure it is going to be incredibly interesting, but also a lot less chaotic than we saw from last week. Always good to chat with you, Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets head of political markets. Thanks for joining us today.