Political Bettors Dismiss Trump Verdict, Odds Suggest Felon Will Regain Presidency

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Former United States President Donald Trump last Thursday was convicted on all 34 counts levied against him by prosecutors in New York in a scheme that involved a $130,000 hush payment to former porn actor Stormy Daniels. The prosecution successfully convinced the jury that the Trump payment resulted in his company falsifying business records and illegally influencing the outcome of the 2016 election.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 31 following his jury conviction. Trump’s 2024 campaign raised over $34 million in the hours after the historic verdict was handed down to mark the first time in US history that a former president has been convicted of felony charges. (Image: AP)

Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing and stresses that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) levied a political witch hunt, something he pledged during his 2021 campaign for the New York County District Attorney seat. The former president and casino mogul is now considered a convicted felon, though his legal team is planning an appeal.

The case primarily rested on allegations brought by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, who claimed he orchestrated the bribe to Daniels in exchange for her vow to not disclose publicly her sexual relationship with the billionaire. Casting himself as a martyr, Trump questioned Cohen’s credibility, a man who has admitted to lying under oath, by calling him “a sleazebag.”

Trump has maintained that the Daniels payment was “not hush money” but a “nondisclosure agreement” that is “totally legal” and “totally common.”

2024 Odds Stagnant

Soon after the Thursday verdict, UK oddsmakers where election betting is allowed and political wagering exchanges operating in the US saw a flurry of bets on the November presidential election outcome. But the robust action didn’t result in much line movement on who will emerge as the 2024 victor.

Before the jury deliberations, Trump was the 2024 front-runner, with William Hill putting his odds at 8/11. Days after the verdict, the UK bookmaker still has his winning chance at an implied outcome of nearly 58%. President Joe Biden’s line is at 11/8, or an implied change of about 42%.

Online political betting exchanges that operate in the US by facilitating the buying and selling of political outcome shares in a peer-to-peer arrangement and not against the house have also kept Trump as the favorite. However, Biden has gained some ground.

Smarkets’ odds gave Trump a winning likelihood of about 55% before the Thursday news. Today, those odds are down to about 50%. Biden is at 40%.   

Though the incumbent closed the gap on Smarkets, another prominent political exchange, Betfair, saw just the opposite. Trump’s shares on Betfair actually shortened following his conviction from implied winning odds of 49% to upwards of 51%.  

Unintended Consequences

Bragg naturally celebrated his office’s successful prosecution of Trump.

The 12 every day jurors vowed to make a decision based on the evidence and the law — and the evidence and the law alone,” Bragg said. “Their deliberations led them to a unanimous conclusion, beyond a reasonable doubt: That the defendant, Donald J. Trump, is guilty of 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, to conceal a scheme to corrupt the 2016 election.”

Though Bragg was happy with the verdict, an unintended consequence of the prosecution has been a rush of funds to the Trump campaign.

Along with two billionaire GOP megadonors — Las Vegas Sands’ Dr. Miriam Adelson and Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman — recently announcing their 2024 support of Trump, the 45th president’s campaign announced on Friday that it raised $34.8 million from small donors in the immediate hours after the New York jury handed down its verdict.

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