US election: Betting markets give Joe Biden 85% chance of winning over Donald Trump

Kumutha Ramanathan
·2-min read
Joe Biden
Democratic US presidential nominee and former vice-president Joe Biden. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has an 85% chance of securing an electoral college win, according betting markets data from Smarkets.

Markets are welcoming news of a potential Democratic win in the US presidential election on Thursday with stocks in Europe and Asia trading higher.

While Joe Biden could be on the brink of victory, incumbent president Donald Trump has launched a series of lawsuits in swing states.

“Despite Trump’s attempts to launch legal action appearing futile, there is still a 56% chance he refuses to concede this election according to our market,” said Sarbjit Bakhshi, head of political markets a Smarkets.

The data shows that the Democrats are heavily favoured in the key remaining states of Pennsylvania (83%), Arizona (80%), Georgia (69%) and Nevada (85%).

Traders have already wagered $24.4m (£18.36m) on this election-winner market alone, according to Smarkets. The election has proven to be the business’ biggest political betting event in history.

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"Trading activity on the Smarkets exchange gave Joe Biden just a 21% chance of victory at one point on election night, but the former VP is now at 85%, suggesting he is within touching distance of becoming the 46th president of the United States,” said Bakhshi.

READ MORE: US election: European stocks hit two week high amid Biden edging closer to win and Trump filing lawsuits

The final result could still take days, as each candidate has to win a majority in the electoral college system. Each state gets a certain number of votes based in proportion to its population. There are 538 state votes and the person who gets 270 wins the election.

As of 2pm in London on Thursday, the BBC reported that Joe Biden had a narrowing lead in Arizona with about 500,000 votes still to be counted.

Despite vote counts progressing, it could still be some time before the result is officially announced.

"The drama could continue for a little while yet,” said Bakshi.